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Meet the 2023 AHR Expo Innovation Awards Winners

Innovation Prevails: Meet the 2023 AHR Expo Innovation Awards Winners

The battle to be the best is on.

The AHR Expo has announced the winners of the 2023 AHR Expo Innovation Awards in 10 industry categories: building automation, cooling, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, sustainable solutions, tools and instruments and ventilation.

These 10 products will compete head-to-head to be awarded the coveted AHR Expo Product of the Year award at the 2023 Show, scheduled for February 6—8 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

For more information about the AHR Expo and the Innovation Awards, visit

2022 AHR Expo Innovation Awards

Meet the Winners


Winner: Copeland™ HVAC Compressors

ZPSK7 scroll compressor

Innovation: Built on the award-winning ZPSK6 platform, Emerson’s ZPSK7 scroll compressor is the most efficient two-stage compressor developed in the 100-year history of the Copeland™ brand. The Copeland™ ZPSK7 scroll compressor is a product line of 1.5 – 5-ton two-stage compressors ideally suited for residential and light commercial HVAC applications. These compressors can operate at 100% capacity or as low as 65% capacity based on heating/cooling demand. When a partial load is needed, bypass ports inside the compression chamber open which partially unload the compressor. This allows the compressor to achieve 65% capacity, thereby consuming less energy at light loads and avoiding costly stops and starts which use more energy. When demand increases, the modulation control valve is activated, sealing the bypass, and shifting capacity to 100%. The ZPSK7 two-stage compressor can run at lower capacity without stopping, ensuring air continues flowing over the coil and the filter. This yields important benefits in humidity reduction and air quality. In addition, this two-stage modulating compressor also gives systems the ability to adjust capacity to match the load, resulting in longer run times at higher efficiency to maximize comfort.

Finalists in this category include: Dorin USA, Booth; Mikrofill by Stuart Turner


Winner: Chemours

Opteon™ XL41 Refrigerant

Innovation: Opteon™ XL41 is a non-ozone depleting, low global warming potential refrigerant replacement for R-410A in residential and light commercial air conditioning, and scroll chiller applications. This innovative product maximizes the benefits of the transition to HFO refrigerants while minimizing the impact of the transition. Opteon ™ XL41 provides a 78% reduction in GWP from R-410A, while remaining compatible with all R-410A residential and commercial applications and lubricants. This greatly reduces the re-design effort for OEMs, and reduces the learning curve for the technicians in the field.

Finalists in this category include: Copeland™ HVAC Compressors; Fujitsu General America, Inc.


Winner: Copeland™ Refrigeration Compressors

ZFW variable speed scroll solution for low-temperature refrigeration applications

Innovation: The Copeland™ ZFW variable speed scroll solution includes brushless permanent magnet (BPM) motor-based scrolls and variable frequency drives (VFDs) targeted for low-temperature, stationary refrigeration applications. The variable speed scroll provides better efficiency, precision, flexibility and reliability, while Copeland variable frequency drives, EVM/EVH Series complement Emerson compressors and controls. It has double the capacity of a fixed-speed compressor of the same size while providing a 20–30% efficiency improvement. With vapor injection technology and a speed range of 1,000–7,000 rpm, it offers unparalleled levels of control, while reducing cycling rates and greatly improving reliability. Optimized for use with new Copeland EVM variable frequency drives, the combination offers cutting-edge levels of performance. While intended for compression, EVM drives are also universally applicable for fans, pumps and other electric motors. With Bluetooth capability, commissioning is more streamlined than ever. To optimize ease of use, the Copeland EVM has been preconfigured for Emerson controls (iPro, E2, E3, Site Supervisor) and can be integrated universally with any controller. Available today with A1 refrigerants and moving toward A2L approval by 2024, the platform offers a robust design option for complying with current and future commercial refrigeration regulations.

Finalists in this category include: Danfoss, Booth; MATELEX


Winner: SmartD Technologies

SmartD Clean Power VFD

Innovation: SmartD's Clean Power Variable Frequency Drive changes the motor control landscape. By delivering a clean, sinusoidal signal it reduces motor system losses by up to 40% and extends motor lifetime in a compact footprint that can be deployed without ancillary filters. The SmartD VFD integrates wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors into its multi-level inverter architecture and combines them with patented modulation algorithms to produce a pure-sine wave electrical signal without the need for external filters. WBG semiconductors have intrinsic characteristics that make them more efficient: on-state losses are 10-80% lower and switching losses are 9 to 30 times lower than standard IGBTs. While the benefits of WBG are clear, they are but a piece of the SmartD innovation equation. By combining a single-carrier harmonics-canceling modulation, with a multi-level architecture and the high frequency switching of the WBG transistors, SmartD is able to integrate filters 400 (four hundred!) times smaller than auxiliary filters normally required to achieve a comparable signal quality. The integrated miniature-filters not only reduce the overall footprint and simplify wiring, they also reduce filter losses while improving motor efficiency, resulting in an overall system efficiency improvement and system-loss reduction of up to 40%.

Finalists in this category include: ECM PCB Stator Technology; Lennox International, Inc.


Winner: Caleffi Hydronic Solutions

Caleffi 536 Series PresCal HP Piston-type Pressure Reducing Valve

Innovation: The only direct-acting pressure regulating valve in North America with true piston operation, the PresCal™HP family ensures stable, high-precision water pressure control while withstanding severe inlet pressure or punishing downstream water hammer. It’s perfect for staged pressure control or demanding applications that are fraught with extreme pressure fluctuations. Being the bridge between a building’s water main and its distribution piping, a PRV experiences pressure fluctuations on both downstream and upstream sides. These fluctuations can be of sufficient magnitude to cause premature fatiguing and failure of a rubber diaphragm design, the industry standard (including Caleffi). The higher the incoming pressure, the more severe the fluctuations and their effects frequently are. This is because higher-pressure applications often involve commercial buildings containing quick-acting devices. They are also interconnected with other similar buildings. Controlling pressure reliably in such applications requires either a robustly designed PRV, a two-stage PRV arrangement, or both. These are the demanding conditions the Caleffi PresCal HP family of PRVs is designed for. Instead of using a flexible, rubber diaphragm separating the high-pressure and low-pressure chambers inside the PRV, the PresCal HP uses a durable piston design. The high-range model serves as a first-stage PRV in a two-stage application. The low-range model serves as a second stage, or as a stand-alone PRV for punishing pressure spikes.

Finalists in this category include: EasyFit Isolator; Viega LLC

Indoor Air Quality

Winner: BELIMO Americas

Room Sensor

Innovation: Belimo room sensors accurately measure temperature, humidity, dew point, and CO2 with or without an ePaper touch display. Integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) provides easy field adjustability, commissioning, remote display capabilities, and troubleshooting even without power. These sensors are maintenance-free and provide long-term reliability for a comfortable room environment. Non-powered configuration allows customers to set these room sensors up before being installed in the field, eliminating technician frustration as the sensors can arrive on site fully configured and ready to communicate. Select models offer BACnet, Modbus, or MP-Bus, which enhances communication and reduces installation, cables, and terminal connections.

Finalists in this category include: AirGreen, Booth; Particles Plus, Inc.

Sustainable Solutions

Winner: Taco Comfort Solutions

System M

Innovation: The ultra-efficient System M consists of a sleek, whisper-quiet, inverter-driven outdoor heat pump that can be up to 4 times more efficient than a gas furnace. The outdoor heat pump seamlessly integrates with Taco’s exclusive indoor HydroBox to provide a complete system with just 6 pipe connections needed. System M is a radically innovative air-to-water heat pump system that provides comfortable, efficient heating, cooling, and plenty of domestic hot water. A true plug-n-play appliance, its packaged design makes installation less intrusive; no refrigerant or gas lines are needed. System M seamlessly integrates with almost any high-efficiency heating and cooling system and is perfect for both new construction and existing HVAC systems. The installation time is half of a typical air-to-water heat pump by eliminating the work to design, procurement, and installation of all the required hydronic components. Just 6 connections needed; 2 connections to the heat pump, 2 connections to the domestic hot water tank (DHW) and 2 connections to the heat and cooling system.

Finalists in this category include: Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US; Trane

Tools & Instruments

Winner: NAVAC Inc.


Innovation: NAVAC NEF6LM BreakFree® Power Flaring Tool yields accurate, hassle-free tubing flares in a fraction of time compared to traditional flaring methods. Designed to perform reliably in harsh environments, NEF6LM also allows one-button, one-hand operation. The tool is equipped with a high-performance rechargeable battery that makes over 100 flares per charge. Manual flaring is rough and inconsistent, very much depending on the operator’s experience level. As a result, distorted flares are made all the time, which causes leaks in connections. Refrigerant leak is a major service issue, especially for ductless VRF systems with many flared connections. NAVAC BreakFree® Power Flaring Tool NEF6LM delivers a fully automatic flaring operation and provides the ultimate quality of flares that an excellent experienced technician could achieve in years to be delivered simply by pressing a button. This greatly improves the efficiency and accuracy of tubing works and greatly reduces the refrigerant leaks in HVAC systems.

Finalists in this category include: Airthings; Onset - HOBO Data Loggers

Building Automation

Winner: Cielo WiGle Inc.

Cielo Breez Max

Innovation: Cielo Breez Max is the industry's first true smart thermostat for mini-split, window, and portable air conditioners. It is loaded with next-gen features and takes a giant leap in the HVAC industry with its AI based Comfy Max mode which offers the true thermostat-like smart experience for all ductless air conditioners. It is also equipped with an auto detection algorithm that automatically detects any AC brand or model making it universally compatible with 200+ brands and 5000+ air conditioner models.

Breez Max is backed by AWS IoT cloud. It works with a 5V adapter or can be hard-wired through 12/18/24 volts AC or DC. All Cielo Breez Max are secured with TLS1.2 to authenticate and encrypt data securely when transferred over a network. Max is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, IFTTT and Siri shortcuts.

Finalists in this category include: Falkonair Inc.; Automated Logic Corporation


Winner: cove.tool


Innovation: Built for mechanical engineers, the loadmodeling.tool quickly and automatically establishes peak cooling and heating loads to design and right-size the mechanical system using the EnergyPlus engine. This web-based tool supports cove.tool’s goal of providing the solutions needed for the AEC industry to unlock productivity and solve the climate crisis. One of the most revolutionary aspects of the loadmodeling.tool is that it is web-based, which presents a new opportunity for mechanical engineers as the majority of their tools are only available via desktop platforms that haven’t evolved much in the last few decades. As it is web-based, mechanical engineers can access the tool anywhere, including results, which means large files aren’t having to be transferred or shared manually. Another important function of the tool is that multiple engineers can work simultaneously on the platform, which is a fundamentally new function that other tools don’t and can’t have. Multiple people can log into the project and work on various tasks at the same time, increasing team efficiency. Finally, this is the first tool that thinks about the engineer first – loadmodeling.tool fits current workflows and gives engineers the answers they need in the way they work. We’re thinking about the tool from the user experience standpoint and giving them something innovative and beautiful to work with every day because they haven’t had that before.

Finalists in this category include: HVAC Solution, Inc; Rep Order Management (AccuQuote)

ASHRAE has compiled this publication with care, but ASHRAE has not investigated and ASHRAE expressly disclaims any duty to investigate any product entered in the 2023 AHR Expo Innovation Awards. The appearance of any technical data or editorial material on any product does not constitute endorsement, warranty or guarantee by ASHRAE.