The 2020 AHR Expo took over the Orange County Convention Center this week in Orlando, FL, showcasing the latest and greatest in the HVACR industry. Below we break down four noteworthy products that caught my eye as I perused the show floor.
1. A heating solution ideal for northern climates
CITY MULTI N-Generation (Mitsubishi Electric Trane)
As mentioned in our AHR 2020 trends roundup, VRF continues to make waves in the U.S. HVAC market. Mitsubishi Electric Trane’s large-capacity commercial VRF system, CITY MULTI N-Generation, was introduced at AHR 2019—but this year’s newest iteration, available summer 2020, offers a smaller footprint and a “hyper heating” feature.
“Its high-performance heat pump capability makes it ideal for northern climates,” says Mike Smith, senior marketing manager at Mitsubishi Electric Trane. “When you think about heat pumps, you don’t think about cold climates. We want to make that connection.”
He adds that the new N-Generation also features more coil surface area, allowing for more refrigerant flow through the system. The coils are also up higher on the unit, in an effort to avoid piled snow reaching the coils. “There have been some great design improvements for cold climates,” Smith says.
2. An all-in-one product for tight spaces
MESA (Amerlux/Delta Electronics)
The word integration was spoken all over the 2020 AHR Expo floor. I saw it physically on display with Amerlux and Delta Electronics’ MESA system, which are ceiling modules that can be customized to integrate things like lighting, security, HVAC, fire protection or sensors in one system.
Photo: Mesa, Delta Controls, an all-in-one product for tight spaces; Credit: Sarah Kloepple
“It integrates lighting and the HVAC system – ductwork can actually come into the system,” says Joseph Oberle, vice president of Delta Electronics. “As the plenum continue to shrink in high-rise buildings, this system is going to become very important going forward. This is something new to the industry, but we’re getting a lot of interest.”
Oberle adds that MESA was developed in partnership with Microsoft to be used in their stores worldwide.
3. A building automation system for small buildings/light commercial
There are countless controls integrators in the market that are ideal for large buildings, “but small buildings usually don’t have the budget for that, or they’re generally installed by a contractor that doesn’t have quite the same skill level,” says Michael Garceau, general manager at Honeywell.
Photo: LCBS, Honeywell, automated building system for small buildings/light commercial; Credit: Sarah Kloepple
The company’s Light Commercial Building System (LCBS) takes those custom building management systems and makes them accessible and affordable to smaller buildings. “It’s configurable, rather than fully programmable,” Garceau explains. “And you can still get the same energy efficiency. It’s easy to install for contractors and doesn’t require a lot of cumbersome, complex processes for the building owner.”
A video at the Honeywell booth on the expo floor showcased the LCBS product being used in Goodwill stores in South Carolina. It’s a cloud-based system, so FMs and building owners can log in from anywhere and see how their building (or buildings) are operating. They can also integrate other devices such as meters or submeters to determine energy usage.
4. An AC system for better air quality
Eco Ventilate (Panasonic)
At AHR Expo 2020, Panasonic showcased front and center Eco Ventilate, its new dedicated outdoor air system, which complements its ECOi VRF product lines. Eco Ventilate’s fresh air and dehumidification systems aim to improve buildings’ IAQ.
Photo: Eco Ventilate, Panasonic; Credit: Sarah Kloepple
“What we’re trying to do is increase the quality of air in buildings, so making sure we get outside air into the building and filtering it better,” says John Shannon, ECOi VRF applications specialist for Panasonic. “That’s where [Eco Ventilate] comes in. It also helps with stale air and can control CO2 levels.”
Eco Ventilate can also be turned on and off through a centralized controller with a building management system interface. It’s also available in electric heat, natural gas and heat pump versions. “Everyone has different needs,” Shannon says.
Missed the AHR Expo 2020? Check out the rest of our content from the show: