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What’s New at AHR Expo

From the transition to low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, to connectivity and automation, to skilled workers in the trades, exhibitors are preparing to showcase how their solutions can help.

The 2020 AHR Expo is expected to carry on the tradition of bigger and better. Scheduled for Feb. 3–5, the world’s largest HVAC&R marketplace is heading to Orlando, Fla. The upcoming Show is expected to sprawl about 500,000 ft2 (46 452 m2) at the Orange County Convention Center.

Throughout the exhibit hall, demonstrations show what products can do for the HVAC&R industry.

From boilers to ventilation systems to air-conditioning systems to building materials, new products are expected to fill the nooks and crannies of the Show floor. About 1,900 exhibitors are expected to showcase their latest innovations and products, so the Show floor’s walkways could rival the traffic patterns of the host city’s theme parks. 

“Much of the excitement really lies within the changes happening in the industry, as well as all the new product development we’re seeing discussed in the media from exhibitors and their plans for the Show, and the importance of some of the above-mentioned discussions. This holds true no matter the location,” said Mark Stevens, CEO of International Exposition Company, which manages the Show. 

The number of exhibitors varies per year based on how much space the companies use on the Show floor, said Stevens. He said some exhibitors have reserved 6,000–7,000 ft2 (557–650 m2) spots while some of the mid-range booths are increasing their size to be about 2,500 ft2 (232 m2).

“Every year we draw innovators in every category. Honestly, it boils down to what you come to the Show looking for and which exhibitors foot the bill in that respect. We encourage attendees to look through the full exhibitor list and use the online directory search function to narrow areas that are of specific interest,” said Stevens. 

Heard on the Show Floor
The 2020 Show boasts its largest education program ever with more than 90 education sessions, said Stevens. From discussing the global climate, changes in refrigerants, changing customer demand to HVAC monitoring, talks on the Show floor touch every aspect of the industry. Other topics include humidity control, dedicated outdoor air systems, applications and future trends of high-performance building design and how to design and operate high-performance healthcare air systems. 

“The education program is a good indicator of the discussions you’ll hear on the floor,” he said. “There continues to be a discussion of how to grow the trade. We need more skilled workers, so what can we do to support that growth?”

The AHR Expo also allows attendees and exhibitors to learn about new market opportunities and crossover vendors such as service providers or tie-ins through BACnet, Stevens said. 

Products ranging from building materials to air conditioners to metal fabrication machinery will be available at this year’s Show.

“What’s exciting is the connections from people in different sectors of the industry opening communication with each other. The AHR Expo has become a place to foster this initiative, and we’ve seen the fruits of the initiative across the industry,” he said. 

To read more about the Show’s education sessions, click here.

Innovation Awards
The booth sizes are not the only Show facet growing. Stevens said more entries were entered into the Innovation Awards competition than ever before, and he thinks this is telling of the innovation happening in the HVAC&R industry right now. 

The annual AHR Expo Innovation Awards competition honors the industry’s most inventive and original products showcased at that year’s Show. A panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges selected the winning systems and technologies based on innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact. 

The contest has 10 categories: building automation, cooling, green building, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, tools and instruments and ventilation. This year’s Innovation Awards winners will compete to be named Product of the Year at the Expo. For additional coverage of AHR Expo, visit ASHRAE Journal’s AHR Today web page.

ASHRAE Winter Conference
The 2020 Show will be held in conjunction with the 2020 ASHRAE Winter Conference, scheduled for Feb. 1–5. The conference’s technical program includes exploring practical applications for achieving energy savings with novel HVAC&R systems, creating resilient designs and better understanding how to design and operate ventilation and air-distribution systems. 

The conference’s technical program addresses must-know industry topics and has two new tracks: Big Data and Smart Controls and Standards, Guidelines and Codes. The Big Data and Smart Controls track will examine the use of big data, advanced algorithms, occupancy-based control strategies, data mining and other analytical techniques to economically automate buildings. The Standards, Guidelines and Codes track showcases addresses the standards development process and how standards help mechanical systems survive disasters.

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For additional coverage of AHR Expo, visit ASHRAE Journal's AHR Today web page.