We’ve got just enough time this month to open with some news from Chicago, where we are wrapping up another AHR Expo and ASHRAE meeting as we go to press. It was another strong group of category winners, and Danfoss has edged out the competition to win the 2018 AHR Innovation Award.

In particular, the company’s Turbocor TTH/TGH high-lift compressors garnered the recognition. Let me offer a hand-picked excerpt from the manufacturer’s description of the product:

In air-cooled chillers, Turbocor® TTH/TGH compressors can support operation at high ambient temperatures with pressure ratios as high as 6.2, which facilitates a greater operating range in hot climates while still being able to support applications such as air-to-water heat pump chillers. The compressors can also support high-lift applications such as heat recovery in water-to-water heat pumps, enabling additional operating cost savings by utilizing waste condenser heat to heat water.

Congratulations to the team at Danfoss, and also a final round of applause to the other companies who won their own category awards in this year’s competition: Setra Systems, Emerson, Calefactio, Spartan Bioscience, Aquamotion, Chemours, Regal, Fluke, and Triatek.

Look for more about this year’s show in our March issue. There, we will take another double-barreled shot at coverage of this year’s booths, sessions, and general throngs of humanity walking around at one-third their normal speed. One feature article by managing editor James Siegel will focus on new products exhibited and debuted at this year’s Expo. I’ll handle the other article, taking a look at other news from show week, whether it’s about recent development in green building standards or expert opinion weighing in from the intersection of the HVAC industry, international politics, and domestic policy.



I had a particularly good time at this year’s gathering, but you couldn’t help but feel one prominent presence who threatened to drop in at any moment. I had two goals, and only two goals, this year: Do the work, and don’t catch the flu.

We all know it’s an especially mean and difficult strain this winter, and you could see that knowledge on display. Whether it was the constant hand gel or noticeable numbers of people skipping the once-automatic handshake, folks were trying their best. (I’m pretty sure this was the first time I heard “Purell” used as a verb.)

But up against flying thousands of people from around the world into the same group of buildings — where they then stroll around and talk, eat, and so forth in close quarters for a few days — how much can our “best” expect to accomplish? Isn’t a trade show, with its far-flung range of attendees and its behavior patterns (followed by everyone taking anything they might catch back home again!), pretty much exactly what a virus would hope a bunch of humans would do?

(I can hear Dr. Stephanie Taylor adding that almost all of that happens in low-humidity environments in a winter location, which doesn’t help, either.)

Is it worth pondering what twists on the traditional event we might deploy if something even worse were going around? Would you ever stay home, or participate in some alternate form of an event like this, or just forge ahead as usual and hope for the best? How much of the information and value exchanged there truly needs the in-person atmosphere to take place?

A year like this is an interesting opportunity to consider the complicated cost/benefit equation that is so ingrained in our minds as acceptable that it’s hardly ever discussed. It’s a complicated situation including the financial variables, what you might call a “misery index” of the unfortunate, and the fact that electronic media can get a lot done but there’s still no real substitute for seeing old friends and colleagues.



Register for our free webinars at webinars.esmagazine.com, where registered users can also view any webinar from the last year on demand in our archive. Our 2018 webinars will be rolling out soon!



February 19-23
Industrial Refrigeration Workshop
Kansas State Engineering
Charlotte, NC
Industrial Refrigeration Workshop or kellii6@k-state.edu

April 23-26
CxEnergy 2018 Conference & Expo
AABC Commissioning Group
Las Vegas

May 9-10
2018 Healthcare Symposium