It’s back! After a forced cancellation of last year’s show due to the pandemic, the AHR Expo — International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition — is headed to Las Vegas, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. The annual event is a prime opportunity for the industry to network and view the latest HVACR technology.
The expo’s organizing committee, Joint Exposition Planning Committee, has prioritized safety concerns and related industry challenges to ensure a safe event so exhibitors and attendees can participate in large-scale networking in the safest way possible. The committee is following the guidelines put in place by the state of Nevada, Clark County, the city and the convention center. Updates can be found on AHR’s health and safety page — www.ahrexpo.com/health-safety.
As a result, all attendees — regardless of vaccination status — must wear masks indoors, and social distancing will be encouraged in small spaces. Outdoor events will not require masks. In addition, hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the building and the venue will include a designated first aid area to address medical issues or other immediate needs.
The Las Vegas Convention Center, the venue for this year’s event, was awarded the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR facility accreditation by ISSA: The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association. The GBAC program was designed to control the risks associated with infectious agents.
“At the top of our list for the 2022 show is hosting a safe event to welcome everyone in the industry back to business and large-scale networking. … I am confident as we head into Vegas, it’s really going to be a great show and a much anticipated welcome back,” said Mark Stevens, manager of AHR Expo, in a statement.
On the Showroom Floor
Manufacturers will tout their latest offerings on more than 500,000 square feet of exhibitor space — a prime opportunity for attendees to speak directly with manufacturers and learn about their latest offerings.
In addition, attendees can participate in a variety of education programs comprised of technical sessions and trend discussions to stay up-to-date on the latest practices and what’s new in the industry.
A full roster of sessions has been slated for the AHR Education Program for attendees to learn about what’s happening in the industry. The program includes 65 free industry sessions and more than 118 new product and technology presentations, professional certifications and continuing education sessions. The ASHRAE Learning Institute will be offering a full slate of paid educations for attendees to earn Professional Development Hours and Continuing Education Units as well.
New to the roster this year, AHR will host a state of the industry leadership panel discussion, titled “Today's Market, Challenges, Opportunities and What's Ahead,” Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. in room N238/240. Speakers will delve into the state of the industry, provide a follow-up on the pandemic, offer supply chain updates, discuss the immediate need for job recruitment and retention, delve into new technologies, regulation updates and climate sustainability as well.
Bryan Orr with the HVAC School will be moderating the discussion, and the following industry experts are participating: Rob Falke, president of the National Comfort Institute; Talbot Gee, CEO of HARDI; Roberta MacGillivray, 2022 president of the National Air Filtration Association; Mick Schwedler, president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers; and Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.
Returning this year are the AHR Expo HVACR industry trend discussions led by members of the AHR Expo Expert Council. Engineering-focused sessions include “Intellectual Property Protections for Your Hottest and Coolest HVACR Innovations” and “5 Essential Soft Skills for Engineers.”
The intellectual property (IP) protections presentation will frame the procurement and enforcement of IP rights through real-world HVACR IP case examples, reveal some patent rights trending in the HVACR industry through IP mapping, and include a Q&A. The session is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 1 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in room N243.
The “5 Essential Soft Skills for Engineers” presentation will preview ASHRAE’s two-day course titled, “Soft Skills Essentials for Engineers,” and will address problems of poor communication and engagement, lack of team collaboration, conflicts, inefficient meetings, unengaging presentations, decreased productivity, talent retention and overwhelmed workload. This presentation also will delve into how to communicate, lead and work in a team. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in room N243.
Following up on the success and popularity of the live podcasts at the last show, the AHR Expo is including an expanded lineup of podcast sessions in two pavilions as well. Industry podcasters will speak to all sectors in the HVAC industry.
2022 AHR Expo Innovation Awards
Each year, the show also features the winners of its AHR Expo Innovation Awards, an annual competition honoring the most innovative and original products, systems and technologies. Winners from 10 industry categories — building automation, cooling, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, sustainable solutions (formerly green building), tools and instruments, and ventilation — are selected to represent the most innovative products and technologies being released to the market. The product of year winner is selected from the among the category winners and will be announced at the show on Monday, Jan. 31.
Winners were selected by a panel of third-party judges comprised of ASHRAE members, who looked at overall innovative design, creativity of the product or service offered, application and potential market impact.
The Innovation Awards winners are prime examples of what’s trending in the industry. Many of the winning products, systems and technologies were designed with small footprints and sustainability and efficiency in mind. A lot of the new technologies are new to the industry as well. (See the adjacent table for a full list of this year’s winners by category.)
Of interest to engineers who specify plumbing, heating and cooling products are the winners in these three AHR Innovation Awards categories. Here are highlights of the AHR’s Innovation Awards winners in the plumbing, heating and cooling categories:
• The plumbing category winner is the Little Giant Inline SpecPAK multipump pressure boosting system from Franklin Electric. At only 14 1/2 inches deep, the device’s smaller footprint makes the Inline 1100 SpecPAK small enough to be hung in a small utility closet or wall-hung to preserve critical floor space. The system’s constant pressure pumps are quiet, compact, self-contained and versatile. Powered by water-cooled motors, it delivers quieter operation versus traditional air-cooled motors.
The self-contained design delivers a plug-and-play solution that is part of a complete package centered around easy installation, operation and durability. The ability to expand is a foundational and distinctive benefit. Both the suction and discharge headers are sized to accommodate the flow rate from the maximum speed of four pumps. Quick and easy disconnects to the main panel allow customers to disconnect each pump individually with minimal system disruption.
• The heating category winner is the Infinity 24 heat pump with Greenspeed intelligence by Carrier. The manufacturer’s highest-efficiency and most advanced heat pump has up to 24 SEER and 13 HSPF for premium energy savings, extremely quiet performance and premium comfort features. The variable-speed compressor of this unit allows it to adapt its output to the needs of the home with infinite adjustments between 25 percent to 100 percent capacity. The heat pump offers excellent humidity control and is capable of removing up to 400 percent more moisture than standard systems.
Based on Carrier testing, all data was run with the systems cycling once they met the assumed home load. The assumed load at AHAM conditions (80/70, 80) is the capacity of the variable-speed running continuously in dehumidification mode. The difficult conditions load was determined by a Wrightsoft load calculation for a home in Florida at 69 OD 72/63 ID. This condition was provided by a customer in Florida as “worst case.”
• The cooling category winner is the Danfoss Turbocor VTCA400 compressor. The Turbocor VTCA400 compressor offers improvements on traditional centrifugal compressor designs that are large in physical size and footprint, which ultimately lead to higher cost and space constraints for the end user. The VTCA400 solves this problem by using a patent-pending hybrid compression design that uses a combination of mixed flow and radial impellers enabling both high-performance and a compact footprint. In this design, the first stage impeller uses a mixed flow impeller with both axial and radial components, while the second stage impeller uses a radial design.
The hybrid compression design allows for a compressor footprint that is half the physical size and weight of a conventional radial-only design. It also maintains high efficiency levels — a 10 percent improvement in full load efficiency and 30 percent improvement in IPLV above ASHRAE 90.1-2019 minimums when considering a three- compressor, 1,200-ton system.
The next AHR Expo will take place in Atlanta from Feb. 6-8, 2023.