Which newly released HVACR products are preferred by consulting and specifying engineers? Engineered Systems’ Commercial Comfort Products of the Year Awards (CCP) program has the answers to that question.
The prestigious CCP program showcases the most innovative products that can be conveniently designed, specified, installed, and maintained across seven categories: commercial controls, heating equipment, IAQ and ventilation, motors and drives, pumps and flow controls, rooftop units, and VRF.
Consumer features on many products are easily recognized and glamorized, but what about the time, effort, and expense that goes into creating a product that is actually effective and preferred by those in the field?
CCP winners were selected by a panel of independent engineering judges, who scored each submission based on a number of factors, including efficiency, compatibility, uniqueness, intuitiveness, and more.
“The inaugural Commercial Comfort Products of the Year awards contest allows those in the industry to learn exactly what features are most important to HVACR engineers,” said Mike Murphy, publisher, Engineered Systems. “As the only products contest in the industry judged exclusively by consulting and specifying engineers, the CCPs genuinely showcase the products that are most useful to mechanical engineers.”
The following article examines several aspects of this award-winning equipment, including how long the products were in development, what testing procedures were utilized, and more.
Engineered Systems’ editors are proud to disseminate these awards on inventive products that are designed with HVAC engineers in mind and would like to offer an astounding congratulations to the winners.
Honeywell’s Thermal IQ™ Optimize, a desktop-based, enterprise-level remote monitoring solution earned the top prize in the Controls category of the 2020 Commercial Comfort Products of the Year competition. Thermal IQ Optimize provides users with real-time analytics and fault modeling with early event detection at the plant, equipment, and process levels to keep thermal process equipment running safely, efficiently, and effectively.
The Thermal IQ platform consists of wireless cellular connectivity, a mobile application, and an enterprise-view dashboard. The unit securely connects combustion equipment to the cloud, making critical thermal process data that is normally trapped at the equipment level available anytime, anywhere, on any smart device or desktop.
“Thermal IQ is a one-of-its-kind solution that focusses specifically on remote monitoring and troubleshooting of thermal processes and equipment,” said Abhinav Barnwal, offering management leader, Honeywell. “With Thermal IQ data, users can see what is happening with their equipment and processes without being at their facility, get real-time alerts with actionable recommendations when key parameters are outside normal limits, and can also track historical data over time to identify when and why something happened. By having the right information at the right time, employees from the management to maintenance levels can get ahead of problems instead of falling behind them, minimizing unplanned downtime and maximizing uptime.
Barnwal said Honeywell is focused on trapping the tribal knowledge from hundreds of years of thermal process expertise, both within and outside of the company, and move them to a cloud-based platform.
“The system could be used by even novice plant operators to analyze and troubleshoot equipment at operational level while also providing a solid benchmarking index for plant managers in order to compare overall health of equipment, spread globally, to find the worst performers and bring them up to the level of best performers,” Barnwal said.
The real-time notifications and actionable recommendations generated by Thermal IQ are designed to improve the analyzing and troubleshooting of thermal equipment to optimize efficiency. The overall effectiveness of equipment can be tracked by its combustion equipment effectiveness (CEE) score. The alarms and notifications are generated with actionable, easy-to-read recommendations that any user with basic combustion knowledge should understand. Moreover, the asset level dashboards with a simple graphical representation of thermal equipment instantly provide an interface with a complete overview of all the critical parameters.
With the help of advanced analytics offered by Thermal IQ Optimize and remote troubleshooting conducted by Honeywell experts, several test results at real production sites have already shown promising results in terms of efficiency improvement and increased operational reliability, Barnwal said.
In one case Thermal IQ allowed a number of potential suspected causes of the boiler short cycling to be narrowed down to a single root cause, which turned out to be excessive feedwater flowrate resulted by an oversized p/p, hence resulting into an immediate corrective action being taken. The sensor data and trend analysis later showed that, as a result of fixing the issue, the total boiler efficiency went up by almost 5%, which can be huge for large industrial boilers where main operational costs are associated to fuel consumptions.
Similarly, in another case, Thermal IQ and advanced analytics were used to identify an anomaly in the fuel air ratio that went undetected by plant personnel. The anomaly was caused by an air leak in the expansion joint at the blower, which was not previously detected due to the location of the joint within the plant. The plant personnel noticed an increase in product quality after the blower leak was repaired, but they did not immediately attribute it to the leak being repaired. An analysis carried out by a Honeywell thermal expert remotely, based on Thermal IQ monitoring data and trend analysis, was able to directly link the change in product quality to the change in air-fuel ratio, by comparing the airflow, fuel flow, firing rates and flame strength data trends in different scenarios. This insight helped the plant maintenance take a more proactive approach in inspecting the expansion joints for leaks, thereby ensuring higher product quality and increased revenue.
One engineering judge was extremely impressed with the unit, stating, “I consider this an enhancement for control technology that may save on operating cost and energy.”
Noritz’s NCC199CDV Commercial Condensing Tankless Water Heater earned the top honors in the Commercial Comfort Products of the Year (CCP) Heating Equipment category.
The newly upgraded unit, which was introduced to the market in April, offers a 10-year warranty on its redesigned dual stainless steel heat exchangers. Now produced as a unique, single-piece structure for easier servicing, the new heat exchangers also incorporate substantial improvements in corrosion-resistance (100%) and heat-shock durability (200%).
The re-engineered NCC199CDV also features a uniform energy factor (UEF) of 0.97 and a now fully integrated exhaust non-return valve that speeds and simplifies common venting for up to six heaters without the need for additional accessories.
As with the predecessor model, unveiled in 2017, the upgraded NCC199CDV offers a maximum input of 199,900 Btu per hour, a capacity range of 0.29-11.1 gallons per minute, and water temperatures from 100°-185°F.
The new NCC199CDV can also direct vent, using either 2- or 3-inch polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), or rigid polypropylene materials. However, vent lengths have been extended: 65 feet for 2-inch pipe, up from the previous 60 feet, and 150 feet, instead of 100 feet, for 3-inch pipe.
“Up to 24 NCC199CDV units can be linked together in a single system using a Multi-Unit System Controller to meet the hot-water needs of high-volume commercial and industrial applications,” said Andrew Tran, marketing manager, Noritz. “The controller offers multiple control options, including aqua-stat and timer pump controls plus application settings for recirculation loops and supplemental storage tanks.”
The unit features a built-in exhaust non-return valve, which eliminates the external valve for lower-profile venting and helps to cut job site labor; an upgraded stainless steel heat exchanger, which features a unique blending of several types of high-quality ferrite and austenite stainless steel; and a UEF of 0.97.
“Tankless water heaters save energy by operating strictly on demand; that is, only when there is a call for hot water at the shower, tap, or appliance,” Tran said. “Because there is no storage, there is no need to periodically heat and reheat the stored water 24/7/365 — regardless of usage — to maintain a set point temperature, thus saving a substantial amount of energy. In addition, the dual heat exchanger also improves energy efficiency by capturing more heat from combustion gases as they escape up the flue than would be the case with a noncondensing water heater.”
The 70-pound unit is Wi-Fi-enabled; certified by the CSA, Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), NSF, and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1146.2; and compatible with Revit and various other building information modeling resources.
Noritz customers are supported by a nationwide network of regional manufacturer sales agents and local wholesaler-distributors who carry extensive inventories of Noritz tankless water heater and combination boiler products.
“I checked a number of other manufacturers, and the Noritz water heater has the highest UEF for natural gas heaters, in the market,” said one engineering judge. “That, in addition to improved maintenance and modularity for larger system requirements, drove me to selecting this as the winner in the heating equipment category.”
IAQ & VENTILATION
Greenheck’s DC-5 is a high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) ceiling fan that is ideal for providing year-round comfort in air circulation and destratification applications. Engineered Systems’ Commercial Comfort Products of the Year’s panel of independent engineers selected the DC-5 as the most innovative product in the IAQ/Ventilation category.
Its sleek, five-blade design provides quiet, comfortable air movement that is designed to maximize building efficiency by reducing the load on the HVAC system.
Model DC-5 is a fantastic solution for reducing energy consumption in two distinctly different ways, said Dan Tolles, senior application engineer, Greenheck.
“First, the DC-5’s unique direct drive design uses significantly less electrical energy to operate,” he said. “In addition, the DC-5 can reduce heating and cooling costs up to 30% by supplementing an HVAC system. Either way, the DC-5 will help maintain comfortable conditions in the building by providing a cooling effect for building occupants during warm weather or by conserving heat through destratification during cold weather.”
Significant research and development went into the design of model DC-5, ranging from digital modeling and simulation of the fan to physical prototyping and testing in accordance with well-known industry standards. In particular, the manufacturer utilized computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies and finite element analysis (FEA) models to validate the design and safety of model DC-5. It meets all applicable codes and standards, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 10 CFR Part 430, ASHRAE 55, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13, and many more. It also carries several industry certifications, including UL/cUL 507 listing, CSA C22.2 No. 113 certification, and Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) certification for Circulating Fan Performance — one of the few HVLS fans in the industry to attain this certification.
The DC-5’s compact design weighs less than 100 pounds and features a direct drive, electronically commutated motor (ECM) for effortless installation and maintenance.
“The DC-5 is one of the simplest products on the market for a building owner to operate and maintain,” said Tolles. “All DC-5 fans are available with intuitive controls designed for easy operation. Maintenance is also limited to regular inspection of the safety systems and cleaning of the fan.”
One engineering judge said the product had taken a significant leap forward compared to what was considered “state-of-the-art” only a couple of years ago.
“This Greenheck product showcased thorough and high-tech development of a product improvement,” the judge said. “Instead of trying to start from scratch with an entirely new product type, Greenheck used innovative analytical and product development technologies to improve an existing product type in multiple ways, including ease of installation, energy conservation, ease of maintenance, and more.”
MOTORS & DRIVES
The Bell & Gossett HYDROVAR® HVL Pump Controller was designed to take pumping to a new level of flexibility and efficiency. Our panel of independent engineering judges agree it accomplished that and then some, naming it the Commercial Comfort Product of the year in the Motors & Drives category.
Either as a packaged unit or as a retrofit to an existing e-1510 pump, the HYDROVAR is a catalyst to significant energy savings, especially when operating at partial loads.
“The HYDROVAR is more efficient than ever and easier to install and operate, making it the ideal variable-speed pump drive for new and retrofit applications,” said John Hein, global marketing and communications manager, Bell & Gossett. “The HYDROVAR works with any standard TEFC [totally enclosed fan-cooled] motor and can be directly mounted on any manufacturer’s pump. The built-in application software makes it the easiest drive to commission, program, and operate, enabling virtually any configuration of pumps. Integrated pump functions provide protection for the pump and motors, and the embedded THDi filter further extends equipment life by improving the quality of energy from the grid. All of this means reliable energy savings of up to 70% from a compact, easy-to-use drive suited for nearly any application.”
The HYDROVAR can control up to eight pumps with full variable-speed control and can control up to five full-speed pumps using one drive with an optional relay card and motor starters. The unit was designed to electronically integrate with existing building management systems. The standard BACnet capability offers the convenience of wireless communication through an optional Wi-Fi card. The HYDROVAR drive’s I/O capabilities can be significantly expanded with the addition of the premium card option.
The HYDROVAR underwent three years of research and design, undergoing complete lab and in-the-field testing for all functionality.
“From the factory, the packaged system is ready to roll,” said Hein. “In the field, the new HYDROVAR variable-speed controller is easy to install, integrate, commission, and operate. In packaged units or retrofits, the HYDROVAR means significant energy savings for applications in commercial or residential buildings, public utilities, and the general industry.”
When it comes to retrofits, existing electric equipment can oftentimes be used, making HYDROVAR even quicker and easier to install. No additional wall space or wiring is required. As a separate controller unit, HYDROVAR is adaptable to many types of systems and off-the-shelf TEFC motors. The HYDROVAR incorporates several innovative features that minimize the usual wear-and-tear of standard operation. Its advanced motor control software extends the lifetime of the motor by regulating heat and reducing it when necessary. The HYDROVAR also features an embedded THDi filter which extends equipment life by improving the quality of the power from the grid; this prevents cables from overheating without the need for reactor filters.
The HYDROVAR is supported by the Revit Platform and the Bell & Gossett ESP-Systemwize® selection tool software for easy pump selection.
“I appreciate that, as a controller, this unit can work with any TEFC motor and can be directly mounted on any manufacturers’ pump,” said one engineering judge. “Its built-in software also is a plus.”
PUMPS & FLOW CONTROLS
Grundfos’s Hydro MPC HVAC’s efficient performance and intelligent controls capabilities caught our panel of judges’ eyes, propelling it to the top of the Pumps and Flow Controls category.
The fully integrated packaged pumping system is easier to install and a less costly alternative when compared to site-built end suction pumps for commercial heating and cooling systems. In addition to simplifying installation, the system’s controls automatically optimize HVAC systems by delivering the intended Delta T, whether the systems are operating at full or part load conditions. The packaged pumping system includes all components — pumps, motors, valves, sensors, variable frequency drives (VFDs), controls, sensors, and more — and is prepiped, prewired, and pretested, increasing the speed of building completion by executing package construction in parallel with other job site tasks. A built-in startup wizard and onboard communications streamline BMS integration and commissioning.
Built-in sensors and advanced control algorithms on the Hydro MPC HVAC provide needed system data and feedback for continuous optimization without the complexity and headache associated with remote system sensors. In addition, engineers have the flexibility to choose a redundant primary sensor for extra peace of mind or use additional sensors for optimized HVAC zone control. Using an integrated sensor in the packaged system offers the easiest installation possible, while delivering the data needed to maintain the design integrity for years to come.