AHR Expo towers above the rest

AHR Expo towers above the rest

by Bill Lydon, Contributing Editor
AHR Expo 2008 Shatters Attendance Records, Over 39,000 Attendees!
AHR Expo CrowdThe 2008 AHR Expo, held at the Javits Center in New York City, January 22-24, shattered attendance records with over 39,000 attendees plus over 18,000 exhibitor staff. AHR Expo 2008 featured 1,885 exhibiting companies with over 8 acres (360,000+ square ft.) of exhibit space. All the exhibiting companies I talked with were thrilled with the attendance and number of leads. 
Over 39,000 attendees and 1,885 exhibiting companies covering over 8 acres of exhibit space.
The AHR Expostarted in 1930 and is the focal point for the industry. Because of the various technologies used in buildings the AHR exhibits include Building Automation, cabling systems, heating and domestic hot water, air-conditioning, air treatment, quality of energy, power supply, lighting management, renewable energies, facilities management operation and maintenance, energy suppliers and distributors, refrigeration, building management systems, measurement-monitoring, voice-data-image networks, safety, security, fire safety, access control, and ventilation products.
In addition to receiving the endorsement of 28 leading HVAC&R industry associations, the AHR Exposition is co-sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE, www.ashrae.org ) and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). The Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) is an honorary sponsor.
ASHRAE 2008 Winter Meeting
ASHRAE's winter meeting is also held concurrently with the AHR Expo® each year and the theme was “Reaching New Heights", a nod to the skyscraper skyline of New York City, the ASHRAE meeting offered a technical program with more than 130 sessions, 21 educational courses and social events. The meeting also featured more than 500 meetings of technical, standards and standing committees, developing guidance for the future of the industry and ASHRAE. More than 2,700 people attended the meeting, held Jan. 19-23, New York City in conjunction with the AHR Expo 2008.
More than 2,700 attendees, 130 sessions, and 21 educational courses.
Major announcements at ASHRAE’s 2008 Winter Meeting included free electronic distribution of the Advanced Energy Design Guide series, publication of the 2007 energy conservation standard from ASHRAE and IESNA, and signing of memorandums of understanding with the Brazil Green Building Council and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
 “ASHRAE hit new heights at this meeting in regard to driving the industry forward through our distribution of technical information, educational offerings and networking opportunities,” ASHRAE President Kent Peterson said. “Being surrounded by the thousands of buildings in New York City was a great reminder that ASHRAE and our industry must truly aim to reach new heights in creating high performing buildings. The accomplishments at this meeting certainly helped move us along the sustainability path.”
“Since we last met in June, oil has hit the $100-per-barrel milestone,” he said in his speech. “As you recall, we were concerned in 2004 when the price of oil roughly doubled in a year to $55 per barrel. Rising energy costs and the increased global awareness of the potential impact of climate change continues to drive home the message that low-energy, environmentally responsible, high-performance buildings are the future.”
Top best-selling books at the ASHRAE Bookstore included the 2007 version of Standard 90.1, the Handbook CD+, the Spanish Pocket Guide and the new Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 Schools.

PNEUMATIC Controls are dead!

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”  - Mark Twain

“The reports of the death of pneumatic controls have been greatly exaggerated!” - Kerk Farrell, President & Founder, Pneuline Controls & National Energy Control Corporation

I talked to Kerk Farrell at his company’s booth on the AHR 2008 show floor and discussed the industry.  Kerk’s company is billed as the, World’s largest supplier of pneumatic HVAC controls.   As Kerk says, “We are the Pneumatic Phanatics!!”  Veteran’s of the HVAC controls industry they have built a business on providing pneumatic HVAC controls parts, training and support.

Changes in technology illustrated by Building Automation Systems and Direct Digital controls make it easy to lose perspective on how pneumatic controls are still a major part of the installed base of HVAC controls.

Pneumatic controls are clearly still alive and considering the age of non-residential buildings it should be obvious.  The last United States Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.doe.gov) study on buildings shows that the majority of non-residential buildings are old with 74% built before 1990, 58% built before 1980, and 42% built before 1970. 

Hanging around Kerk’s booth and listening to people talk you get an understanding of how many pneumatic HVAC controls are still in service.
The company has put a large emphasis on training with regular classes on pneumatic controls.  They also have an online parts database that includes free downloadable factory specification sheets, pricing information, competitive cross-referencing, and old to new parts cross reference.

The company also provides parts and advice for Building Automaton Systems and Direct Digital controls.

National Energy Control Corp
312 Darby Rd
Havertown, PA 19083
Toll-free at 800-227-9800

More than 900 people attended the ASHRAE Learning Institute’s seven Professional Development Seminars and 14 short courses. The most popular courses dealt with health care, Standard 62.1 and natural ventilation.
ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is an international organization of some 50,000 persons. ASHRAE fulfills its mission of advancing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education.
AHR Innovation Award Winners
The most innovative products in the HVAC&R marketplace were honored as winners of the 2008 AHR Expo Innovation Awards competition. The winners span the marketplace ranging from the latest development in green building technology to the newest instruments.
A panel of judges consisting of ASHRAE members selected for their exceptional knowledge of the industry and its products reviewed and evaluated all submissions. Product entries were judged for innovation, application, value to user, and market impact.
In addition to recognizing outstanding product innovation, the award competition provides entry fees that will be used to benefit HVAC&R students in the New York area. Since the conception of the program five years ago, thousands of dollars have been donated to several technical schools’ scholarship funds.
 “We’re very proud of the impact the Awards have on the HVAC&R industry,” said Clay Stevens, President of IEC, Show Producers and Managers. “In addition to calling attention to how companies can turn technology into useful products, it provides scholarships to young people who want to enter the industry.”
Winners of the AHR EXPO® Innovation Awards were recognized in a special ceremony on Tuesday, January 22nd in the New Product Technology Theater at the show. Winners also received placards to display at their booths during the Show as well as an etched crystal award to be displayed at their company’s headquarters.
Thousands of dollars have been donated to several technical schools’ scholarship funds.
The Innovation Awards are jointly sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI); and International Exposition Company (IEC), producers and organizers of the AHR Expo®. Only one product per company may be submitted in each category and winning products from previous years cannot be re-entered. For more information on the AHR Expo® Innovation Awards, visit www.ahrexpo.com.
The 2008 Winners
Tek-Air Systems, Inc.
AccuValveTM new air control valve by Accutrol, LLC
23-SEER air conditioner with iQ Drive™
Carrier Corporation
Evergreen 23XRV chiller with Foxfire™ technology
Hallowell International
Acadia: combined heating and cooling system
Lennox International
Humiditrol Enhanced Dehumidification Accessory
Emerson Climate Technologies
Copeland SystemPro condensing unit
Maxwell Systems, Inc.
Maxwell Systems Estimation Takeoff
Omega Engineering, Inc.
zSeries Wireless Sensor System
ebm-papst, Inc.
5-blade EC axial fan w/winglets
2008 Honorable Mentions
BUILDING AUTOMATION (Honorable Mentions)
Building Automation Products, Inc.
Wireless Temp or Humidity System
Honeywell International
Spyder Controller
Reliable Controls Corporation
MACH-Stat BACnet Controller
Viconics Electronics, Inc.
Viconics Wireless Gateway
COOLING (Honorable Mentions)
Baltimore Aircoil Company
IBC Compliant Cooling Tower
Carrier Corporation
AquaForce Air Cooled Chillers
Daikin AC (Americas), Inc.
Daikin VRV-III air conditioning system
Honeywell International
VisionPRO IAQ thermostat
GREEN BUILDING (Honorable Mentions)
Grundfos Pumps Corporation
Grundfos MAGNA Circulator
Lennox International
Strategos Rooftop Unit line
Oventrop Corporation
Regusol X station with heat exchanger for solar energy
HEATING (Honorable Mentions)
AERCO International, Inc.
Benchmark 3.0LN Boiler
ClimateMaster, Inc.
Tranquility (THW) Series High Temp Water-to-Water Heat Pump
Grundfos Pumps Corporation
VersaFLo UP(S) wet rotor circulators
Hydro Delta Corporation
Hydroheat Quadro-Therm geothermal heat pump
IAQ (INDOOR AIR QUALITY) (Honorable Mentions)
Broan-NuTone LLC
Broan ® SmartSense® Ventilation System
Carrier Corporation
39M Air Handler with Agion
Hoffman Controls Corp.
220-TRH VariFLow Interface
REFRIGERATION (Honorable Mentions)
ebm-papst, Inc.
Energy Saving Axial Fan Series
Sporlan Division - Parker Hannifin
Subcool-O-Matic mechanical controller
Tecumseh Products Company
OD Max
SOFTWARE (Honorable Mentions)
Bidtracer Specialty Software Group LLC
Bidtracer bid management
Engineered Software, Inc.
PIPE-FLO Professional 2007 fluid flow analysis
Honeywell International
WebStat controller communicatin thermostat system
Jonas Software Ltd.
Jonas Service Management
TOOLS & INSTRUMENTS (Honorable Mentions)
Appion Inc.
G5 Twin refrigerant recovery unit
Emerson Climate Technologies
1F85RF-275 Thermostat Kit (with wireless remote sensor)
Nu-Calgon Wholesaler, Inc.
Rx11-flush ozone-safe solvent
VENTILATION (Honorable Mentions)
AirConcepts, Inc.
Turret Drum Louver
GLV International Ltd.
Square Flexible Air Ducts
Munters Corporation
DryCool ERV dehumidifier
AHR Free Educational Sessions
A total of 32 free educational sessions were presented by such endorsing associations as AMCA, MCAA, SPIDA, GWAC, CTI, ABMA, NEBB, GAMA, ZigBee, LonMark, HARDI, and NAFA. These free seminars covered a wide array of topics, ranging from The Role of Controls in Green and Sustainable Buildings and Intelligent Buildings-Delivering Sustainability to Global Warming and GridWise
Green Products Featured
Going ‘green’ is one of the hottest topics in the HVAC&R industry.  The latest in “green” products, trends, technologies and solutions were featured with an array of new, energy-efficient, “green” products on display from more than 1,800 companies around the world. Close to 200 of these exhibitors also showcased Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) products. Several of AHR Expo®’s 28 endorsing associations offered free educational sessions dealing with “green” issues. Sessions included:
  • GreenSpeak: Understanding the Language and Concepts
  • Going Green: Reducing Emissions and Operating Costs in Commercial, Industrial or Process Heating Applications
  • Going Green and the Plan and Spec Representative
  • A Zero Energy Buildings exhibit, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, provided attendees with research into systems integration of residential and commercial buildings with renewable and other onsite power systems. It included evaluation of cost tradeoffs between investments in energy efficiency and on-site power systems, along with evaluation of net daily, monthly and annual energy contributions from such systems. In addition, the Department of Energy/Building Energy Codes Programs exhibited Energy Code Compliance software.
Building Automation Industry at AHR Expo 2008
The building automation industry has seen a great deal of consolidation with the acquisition of small BAS companies by major companies such as Siemens, Carrier Corporation (subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation), and Schneider Electric. There are still independents such as Distech Controls, American Auto-Matrix, Reliable Controls, KMC Controls, and Richards-Zeta.   There are only two original pioneer BAS companies that have not changed ownership, Johnson Controls and Honeywell.
Only two original pioneer BAS companies that have not changed ownership
System Integrators vs. Manufacturers’ Branch Offices
System integrators in the BAS industry have become very strong with most being contractors of substance having strong annual sales volume for products and services. A large component of their business is service, which makes them financially stable with solid relationships with their customers. This is the same type of customer relationship that traditional supplies have with factory owned branch offices.
Johnson Controls is the best example of this business model because the local branch office was the bedrock that the company was built upon. Johnson and other major suppliers now have basically two product lines for BAS. One for contractors and one for their branch offices to capture everything from light commercial to large facility BAS projects. Johnson showing at AHR illustrated this dual product approach with two large booths at AHR Expo across the aisle from each other. One featured products sold through contractors and the other featured products sold though branch offices and both were extremely busy.
The established networks, BACnet (www.bacnet.org) and LON (www.lonmark.org), in the BAS industry were both evident at the show.  The big change is the growth of Ethernet and wireless. 
Ethernet is growing as the preferred data and voice communications infrastructure in buildings. BACnet has a solid story for Ethernet with BACnet/IP. The LON approach is to use is use gateways to bridge LON and Ethernet. LON has enjoyed a leadership position in adoption for sensor and actuator devices with their flexible multi-drop architecture. I sense that the momentum has changed because of the rapid growth of Ethernet for all communications and will be reporting on how this develops in the future.
The number of wireless devices at the show has grown steadily in the last few years and was prominent this year. There was a wide array of wireless devices including sensors, thermostats, and virtually every BAS company was showing something wireless. Standards do not seem to be an adoption factor at this stage in the growth of wireless other than meeting FCC requirements.
Wireless standards do not seem to be an adoption factor at this stage in the growth of wireless…
The ZigBee™ Alliance announced collaboration with BACnet in 2006 to allow existing wired BACnet systems to add wireless devices to their existing Building Control systems by using ZigBee.  This sounds sensible but it is not a factor in the marketplace at this time.
Tridium Sedona, Biggest Building Automation News at AHR
About 6LoWPAN
The Sedona communications implementation is 6lowpan! So what is this?   6lowpan is an acronym of IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks and has been created by the IETF. The Internet Engineering Task Force (www.IETF.org) is a large open international community that promotes Internet standards, cooperating closely with the W3C and ISO/IEC standard bodies and dealing in particular with standards of the TCP/IP and Internet protocol suite. IETF members include network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.
The charter of the IETF 6LoWPAN working group was to define how to carry IP-based communication over IEEE 802.15.4 links while conforming to open standards and assuring interoperability with other IP devices.
The breakthrough of IETF 6LoWPAN is to achieve a very compact and efficient implementation of IP, removing the factors that previously gave rise to an array of ad hoc standards and proprietary protocols. This has particular value in the world of industrial protocols (such as BACNet, LonWorks, the Common Industrial Protocol and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), which originally were developed to provide interoperability over particular, industry-specific busses and links.   Developers of these protocols have created IP options to allow operation over such “modern” technologies as Ethernet. The advent of 6LoWPAN lets these established protocols extend their IP option to new links, such as 802.15.4 — and thus to interoperate automatically with emerging protocols designed specifically for 802.15.4 (such as ZigBee and SP100.11a).
The biggest news for Building Automation at AHR was Tridium’s introduction of Sedona. Sedona is another implementation of innovative ideas by Tridium and a bold move. Tridium has become successful with the Niagara Framework  for integrating diverse systems and devices, regardless of manufacturer or communication protocol and merging automation, IP and IT technology into a single software platform. Sedona is designed to extend  this architecture down into end devices such as sensors and actuators.
The application of Sedona was illustrated at the show with it running on a small board about half the size of a stick of chewing gum with a single integrated circuit chip on it. This platform is basically one chip (supplied by Jennic, www.jennic.com) and has an IEEE802.15.4 wireless transceiver onboard. The communications is based on 6LoWPAN. It also has serial lines for hardwired communications. Very cute package!
Sedona embedded wireless controller was about half the size of a stick of chewing gum!
The user creates applications using Tridium development software that generates Sedona program objects. These software objects are small, the chip shown at the show only had 96 Kbytes of memory for applications.   Time will tell how robust an application can be run on this platform.
Tridium states that Sedona is the industry's first, open source software development framework that provides a complete platform for developing, connecting and managing small, low level embedded devices. The Sedona Framework allows manufacturers to easily and quickly build their own device for internet applications, dramatically accelerates time to market and reduces the cost of developing and deploying pervasive device connectivity solutions.
My Thoughts…
Tridium's Sedona is clearly a major move in the industry. The question is where this will take Tridium, Honeywell, and the industry. To date the Honeywell purchase of Tridium has not appeared to have an effect on Tridium relationships with vendors they supply. Many of these vendors compete with Honeywell; Johnson Controls is the most notable example.
Technically this is an appealing architecture. All devices have an IP address which puts these devices in the mainstream of networked technology…they can leverage all the existing IP tools, services, and infrastructure. 
Sedona from a 10,000 foot level looks functionally like a replacement for the Echelon Neuron chip with more power and a user friendly set of develop tools.
It is unclear if the content of the protocol Tridium uses to communicate with Sedona devices is open architecture as defined as available for use by any vendor at a low cost and without ongoing license fees.
Will these devices support oBIX? Could be very interesting…
Is this the next step in the evolution of Building Automation networking? After all LON and BACnet have been around a long time!
This story is just starting to unfold and we will be reporting as it develops.
Tidbits & Links from AHR & ASHRAE Sessions
United States Energy use is 32% industrial, 40% buildings, and 28% transportation.
  • 79% of emissions are from buildings! (We all think of automobiles as the major source.)
  • www.Engineeringforsustainability.org - ASHRAE Sustainability Resources
  • www.ibexcellence.org - ibexcellence is an open network providing an independent forum for knowledge sharing, networking and learning about the successful application of intelligence in buildings.
  • www.Gridwise.orgGridWise™ Alliance is a consortium of public and private stakeholders who are aligned around a shared vision. A vision of an electric system that integrates the infrastructure, processes, devices, information and market structure so that energy can be generated, distributed, and consumed more efficiently and cost effectively; thereby achieving a more resilient, secure and reliable energy system.
  • US peak electrical demand is about 77 Giga watts and cumulatively occurs about 100 hrs per year.   Doing active demand control throughout the system can lower that peak demand.
  • Today there is $800 billion of electrical generation in place. In less than 20 years the USA will need $900 billion of additional electrical generation investment to keep up with forecasted demand. The alternative is better methods and management.
  • Computer server rooms require a significant amount of cooling. Two kilowatts of power of cooling is required for one kilowatt of computer server power!