Johnson Controls will showcase its unmatched portfolio of advanced, sustainable and future-ready HVACR solutions at the 2020 AHR Expo (Booth 3833) Feb. 3-5 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The Johnson Controls booth will be centered around the company’s new brand focus – ‘The power behind your mission’ – which reinforces its commitment to advancing the safety, comfort and intelligence of spaces and places to power its customers’ business goals.

“The HVACR industry is constantly evolving and Johnson Controls is well-positioned to meet changing consumer demand with more efficient, sustainable and smart-ready products,” said Jeff Williams, president, Global Products, Johnson Controls. “The 2020 AHR Expo brings together a collection of our latest and most advanced products to help simplify building management, increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.”

seamless integration

The units are Smart Equipment enabled and provide seamless integration with building controls systems

YORK Sun Choice: The new 15-27.5-ton commercial rooftop units exceed Department of Energy (DOE) 2018 regulations by up to 25% and surpass future DOE 2023 part-load standards by nearly 10%. The units feature a lightweight design that is up to 33% lighter than existing Johnson Controls models and up to 22% lighter than competing products.

Large-tonnage commercial rooftop units: The new series of 27.5–50-ton commercial rooftop units seek to provide class-leading performance to deliver comfort without compromise – all in a cost-effective package. The units are Smart Equipment enabled and provide seamless integration with building controls systems, including Verasys, which helps maximize control for greater efficiency, extended equipment life and reduced operating costs.

communicating zoning system

New Communicating Zoning System: YORK will launch the new Wi-Fi-enabled Hx 3 communicating zoning solution, offering a range of devices to build systems supporting up to eight zones in homes resulting in maximum efficiency of equipment. The communicating zoning system can be controlled on the equipment, individual room thermostats or remotely controlled on the upgraded Hx Pro mobile application. When paired with this new technology, YORK Affinity Variable Capacity Systems are smarter, more connected, more efficient and more reliable than ever before.

The Ducted Systems group will also feature the 2020 AHR Innovation Award-winning YORK TL9E Ultra-Low NOx Gas Furnace.

Metasys Release 10.1: The latest version of the Metasys building automation system (BAS) includes an award-winning Cyber Health Dashboard and a new family of Network Engines to help drive system performance and cybersecurity. An exclusive first look at Metasys enhancements that will be available later this year will also be on display, including new supervisory and equipment controller models and fault detection, and fault triage capabilities.

commercial refrigeration system

The Johnson Controls building automation team will also exhibit next-generation hardware for Facility Explorer, including a brand new supervisory controller, a new family of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) for critical environments and other additions to its robust building automation portfolio as part of the recent EasyIO acquisition.

YZ offers outstanding efficiency, an impressive operating map and a low total cost of ownership

PENN Connected Refrigeration: This new tool leverages the cloud, IoT, mobile applications and data analytics to provide real-time data to optimize commercial refrigeration system efficiency, performance and reliability. It’s a cost-effective solution to ensure food stored in refrigeration equipment is always safe.

Johnson Controls will feature a wide range of commercial and residential thermostat controls. Designed to help occupants efficiently and easily manage indoor comfort, the LUX portfolio provides a commercial line of thermostats of all types – from mechanical and pneumatic to smart Zigbee and zWave controls – to fit almost any project.

HVAC systems design process

Pros can see first-hand the simplicity and design of the LUX line of smart thermostats, including the KONO Smart, KONOz and KONOzw, CS1, GEO and the award-winning LUX P series of programmable thermostats, as well as the latest Johnson Controls TEC3000 and WT4K for commercial applications.

HVAC Designer: This new web-based tool speeds up the HVAC systems design process by assisting with many time-consuming tasks necessary to design a complete system, such as a rooftop system with Verasys controls. The tool can import loads from diverse sources, create your schematics, automatically complete industry-standard HVAC calculations, guide product selections that meet system performance requirements, and create project documentation.

heat recovery systems

Hitachi multi-module water source VRF heat pump and heat recovery systems (Booth # 3819): The new multi-module systems are the largest capacity water source variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems in the industry – ranging from 6-48 tons – and offer the capability of connecting multiple single-module units. A new development for the award-winning YORK YZ Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller will be announced at the show.

Johnson Controls has developed an integrated heat exchanger option available in YORK air handlers

Launched in early 2018, the YZ is the first chiller fully optimized for ultimate performance with a next generation low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant. The YZ offers outstanding efficiency, an impressive operating map, sustainability and a low total cost of ownership.

Johnson Controls Innovates Wrap-Around Heater Exchangers for a Compact Air Handler Footprint: With the growing need for energy-efficient dehumidification methods, Johnson Controls has developed an integrated wrap-around heat exchanger option exclusively available in YORK air handlers.

temperature and lighting control

The result is a compact design offering a significant footprint reduction vs. alternative systems. Wrap-around heat exchangers offer dehumidification benefits for many HVAC system applications including schools, hospitals, laboratories and gymnasiums. Manufactured on the same line as other YORK AHRI 410-certified coils, Johnson Controls guarantees the performance and reliability of the entire system without need for onsite installation or additional manufacturing lead time.

Johnson Controls Companion: This personal occupant app combines temperature and lighting control, space reservation, desk usage, way finding, helpdesk, ticket request and mobile access/e-badge management to enable the workplace and workforce of the future. The easy-to-use app gives occupants more control while making buildings smarter and more efficient.

advanced cloud-based platform

Smart Connected Chillers provide machine learning-enabled, value-added analysis, including vibration analysis

Johnson Controls Enterprise Management: This advanced cloud-based platform is machine learning-enabled and allows users to monitor and manage building operations data, space utilization, tenants, equipment and systems from a single pane of glass. An advanced Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) engine, predictive capabilities and integration with preferred work order system provides quick and measurable ROI.

Smart Connected Chillers: Evolving from preventive to predictive condition-based maintenance, Smart Connected Chillers provide machine learning-enabled, value-added analysis, including vibration analysis, to aid in early detection of machine faults with proactive recommendations to make smart decisions around equipment performance.

critical environment controls

FMS-2000 Critical Environment Controller: Triatek will display the latest addition to the critical environment controls portfolio, the FMS-2000 Critical Environment Controller. It features a larger five-inch-high definition touch screen with increased font size that makes verifying temperature, pressure and humidity easier across operating rooms and other critical spaces. An updated interface will provide a consistent user experience across Johnson Controls products, and users can customize which parameter(s) to display on the screen.

Two different password-protected access levels provide facility managers and healthcare staff with the peace of mind that certain settings are only accessible to approved staff. The FMS-2000 can control and monitor up to six parameters across four rooms, which makes it a cost- effective choice. It includes the patented Safety Halo edge lighting that provides 360˚ of color-coded status visibility. The FMS-2000 seamlessly integrates with Metasys and Facility Explorer, and will be available globally in 17 languages in March 2020.

energy efficiency

Service and Maintenance: Johnson Controls offers the industry’s most comprehensive options for service and maintenance of HVAC equipment and controls in North America, including both smart-ready Johnson Controls products as well as competitive products.

 Johnson Controls will also offer educational presentations addressing key trends in the industry, including the 2019 Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey. Clay Nesler, Vice President, global energy and sustainability for Johnson Controls, will unveil findings of the 2019 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI). The annual survey tracks current and planned investments, key drivers and organizational barriers to improving energy efficiency in facilities.

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HVAC Designated Among ‘Essential’ Workers During COVID-19 Response
HVAC Designated Among ‘Essential’ Workers During COVID-19 Response

HVAC industry employees are included among “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During the COVID-19 Response” as designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The guidance memorandum states: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security … you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” The edict comes from the DHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, whose goal is to provide a listing of essential workers to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities. The list also seeks to inform critical infrastructure community decision-making to determine the sectors, sub-sectors, segments, or critical functions that should continue normal operations, appropriately modified to account for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) workforce and customer protection guidance. Business As Usual For HVAC Employees HVAC industry employees are included among “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During the COVID-19 ResponseSeveral sections of the March 19 document are relevant to the HVAC marketplace. Specifically, the guidance memorandum singles out “employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.” It also specifies “workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” Under “information technology,” the document also mentions “data center operators, including …. HVAC and electrical engineers …” Furthermore, under an “Other” category, the document lists “workers to ensure continuity of building functions.” Vital Health and Safety Requirements A March 17 letter to “Federal, State and Local Officials” from a group of HVAC industry organizations made the case that their business is “essential.” As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, many states have targeted for closure non-essential businesses that typically involve crowdsThe letter reads: “While citizens are coping with a variety of unforeseen and unusual restrictions, it is essential that they are able to maintain their HVAC and commercial refrigeration equipment. Aside from providing comfort, this equipment is vital for health and safety in addition to productivity, particularly for air filtration and food and medical supply preservation, especially in this time of quarantine. When equipment fails, technicians must be able to repair or replace it as quickly as possible.” The letter continues: “Accordingly, as states and local jurisdictions consider their health crisis travel restriction plans, we respectfully request that HVACR technicians and engineers be considered essential businesses.” Representatives for the HVAC Industry The letter is signed by representatives of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), Air Movement & Control Association (AMCA), and North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Also signing are Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA), Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors (PHCC), Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), and American Association of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, many states have targeted for closure non-essential businesses that typically involve crowds.

HVAC Businesses Struggling from Jolt of COVID-19 Pandemic
HVAC Businesses Struggling from Jolt of COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is a human tragedy for thousands and is having a profound impact on the world economy, including the HVAC market. Many businesses are scrambling to survive even as they address the intense human element of the crisis. A survey by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) gathered insights on the effect the coronavirus pandemic is having on the HVAC industry. More than 70% of survey respondents expect the medical implications of the pandemic to last up to three months. (The survey closed out on March 18; 47 ACCA members participated.) Another 65% of respondents expect COVID-19 to translate into long-term business viability concerns; 9% are concerned their businesses may not survive. Implementing New Measures More than 70% of survey respondents expect the medical implications of the pandemic to last up to three monthsMeasures implemented among ACCA members to address the crisis include the addition of hand sanitizer, cancellation of large events, extra office cleanings and work-from-home programs. Among smaller companies, only about 10% of employees are working from home. Strategies include providing video consultations for homeowners. Technicians are urged to wash their hands both before entering a customer’s house and when they leave. Some 32% of respondents to the ACCA survey reported supply chain delays. Interestingly, nearly half of the ACCA members who participated in the survey say they don’t have a formal disaster plan in place. One concern among industry associations is that local governments will limit or stop HVAC inspections as a measure to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, lack of inspections could open the way for unqualified and unlicensed installers to take advantage of consumers during the crisis, when customers are rightly concerned about pollutants, bacteria and other harmful elements in the home. Protecting Consumers Several HVAC associations have written an open letter to organizations representing local governments to express concern about the situation. The letter states: Another 65% of respondents expect COVID-19 to translate into long-term business viability concerns; 9% are concerned their businesses may not survive“Local governments should be doing everything they can to protect consumers from health and safety consequences of nonexistent or improper installations. We are hopeful that all code officials and building inspectors continue to be leaders in their community and enforce local code and permitting regulations.” The letter is signed by presidents, CEOs and directors of ACCA, Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), Air Movement and Control International (AMCA), and Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). Also signing the letter is Thomas W. Jackson, CEO, Jackson Systems. Addressing Representatives  The letter is addressed to representatives of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, American Association of Code Enforcement, National Association of Towns and Townships, and International Code Council.   The letter also states: “As an industry, we understand the unique circumstances that code officials and inspectors currently face, particularly with home and building owners who are concerned about coming into close contact with others. However, HVACR contractors continue to work in peoples’ homes and buildings every day, and in so doing, are implementing the appropriate protocols to ensure they can serve customers and simultaneously provide peace of mind.” China alerted the World Health Organization in December to several cases of an unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. In January, officials identified a new virus as belonging to the coronavirus family, which includes SARS and the common cold. It was named COVID-19 and has since spread to all of mainland China and throughout the world.

Addressing The Flammability Risks Of New Refrigerants
Addressing The Flammability Risks Of New Refrigerants

Refrigerants used in cooling systems for homes and businesses are being replaced with alternatives that have less potential for global warming. But the transition comes at a risk: Some of the new refrigerants are flammable.  Although less flammable than gases such as propane, for example, new refrigerants can still ignite and burn with a high intensity under ideal circumstances. The new materials have low-flame velocity and are less easily ignited; however, one byproduct of combustion is toxic hydrogen fluoride. Flammability risks of non-toxic refrigerants  Non-toxic refrigerants are categorized by flammability risks. A1 designates no flame propagation; A2 indicates lower flammability; and A3 indicates higher flammability. Hydrocarbons such as propane have higher flammability (A3) and are restricted to a lower charge limit that does not address refrigeration needs of large systems. Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) are mildly flammable, have a low flammability limit (LFL) and have been categorized as an A2L refrigerant. They tend to burn slowly and give off little heat. Hydrocarbons such as propane have higher flammability NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) offers online and instructor-led training to educate firefighters about flammability and toxicity risks associated with new refrigerants. The training also covers asphyxiation challenges, jet stream fires, transportation issues and other life-safety considerations associated with flammable refrigerants. The training covers how to adapt response tactics to mitigate consequences from refrigerants in various types of emergencies. Strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), personal protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) protocols and decontamination practices are also covered. Categorising refrigerant flammability The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) provides funding to NFPA to develop training on the emerging technology. According to an ASHRAE report, refrigerant flammability can be characterized by three factors: Likelihood that a refrigerant leak would result in a concentration range that reaches the lower flammability limit; Presence of a sufficient energy ignition source; and Likely severity of a combustion event, and probability of a secondary fire. ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) are researching the flammability of refrigerants, including factors such as refrigerant charge size, release height, leak rate, humidity, and room size and temperature. When choosing the best refrigerants, it is likely a tradeoff will be required among global warming potential, flammability and efficiency. Codes and standards Codes and standards are being modified to address the use of new materials Currently, codes and standards are being modified to address the use of new materials, although risk mitigation concerns of the fire service have historically not been considered. One issue is the risk of using large amounts of flammable gas in a refrigeration system to cool a larger room. Additional safety measures are needed to make the risk acceptable. Detection of leaks is another issue, especially the need for repeated calibration of leak detectors to ensure accuracy. More than 200 countries will be ushering in the new class of refrigerants.

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