But the big news in my opinion didn’t come from any of the large companies, but rather from one with some rather plain mini-splits that I found in an out-of-the-way small booth that you would have to know where to look to be able to find. But, please carefully examine the photograph pictured here; what you see are the retail prices that these systems are being offered for with everything needed for installation including… the condenser, the evaporator, the pre-charged tubing, and the wiring! And did I say retail? YES! For, I was told by the company spokesman for Amcor (an Israeli-owned company), “None of the other companies that manufacture this type of system have made a dent in the U.S. market yet, so we are going to target the end users. We’re providing everything they need to install their own systems at a price they can afford.” However, they say that the systems will initially be offered through supply houses. If you are interested, their Web site is www.amcorgroupusa.com.
Important new technology for the commercial market is variable-refrigerant-volume systems, which appeared to be offered by Carrier, Daikin and Sanyo. These systems may have air-cooled or water-cooled condensers, but with new electronics you can now pipe a system with several different types and sizes of indoor coil - some of which can be in the heating mode while others are simultaneously in the cooling mode - through just two (one heating, one cooling) circuits, and the condensers can even be paralleled into a single circuit.
Also of interest (if you haven’t already heard the news), is the fact that Daikin, one of the world’s largest HVAC manufacturers, has purchased the group that owns McQuay International and American Air Filter, which will finally give Daikin a much stronger domestic presence.
One of the most important new technologies that just recently started to find its full niche in our industry is the brushless DC motor. You’re all probably familiar with what I’m talking about, because these are the motors that were first developed to provide variable air volume in top-of-the-line residential gas furnaces. But now they’re finding uses in mini-split air handlers and even in compressors, which is allowing systems to reach unheard of efficiencies in the 20+ SEER range. And a good example of this is the Halcyon line of residential products from Fujitsu (www.fujitsugeneral.com). These systems use the super-quiet and super-efficient brushless DC motors in both their indoor fans and their compressors, and they salvage the heat from the DC inverter to significantly raise the heat output of their heat pumps.
I was also interested by a new line of water-source heat pumps from ClimateMaster - what they call their Tranquility 20 Series. What is interesting here is that they are using the warm water that they discharge in the cooling mode for reheat, to provide energy-efficient dehumidification. And although the system can operate on a standard 24V thermostat and a separate humidistat, they also offer a digital combination thermostat/humidistat for optimal operation (www.climatemaster.com).
Two more equipment-style products that caught my eye are the Lexin Far Infrared Heating System (www.lexin.com) and the ProMark air cleaner for smoky rooms (www.promarkassociates.com). The Lexin infrared heater is a very attractive and thin electric heater that is designed to fit lay-in ceiling panels, and emits heat in the high infrared range, which means that it operates cooler while providing effective heating. And the Promark air-cleaning device, which was designed for use in casinos, uses a combination of high-quality filtration, UV, ozone and carbon filtration to remove virtually all traces of cigarette smoke from the air.
And finally, just in case you’re interested, I found several Chinese and Korean HVAC manufacturers whose products are UL-certified and ready to be sold in the U.S. Market. Here are some e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.