TORONTO - Do you know which systems are the most energy efficient? Have you given any thought to the opportunities and incentives available in providing renewable energy to customers? What about directing your company toward markets such as hydronic heating?
A glimpse of the future of the HVAC industry was one of the highlights of the 2004 Canadian Mechanicals Exposition, commonly called "CMX," March 25-27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
"Learn Today, Profit Tomorrow" was the theme of this year's show. It showcased the latest technology available to contractors and manufacturers who want to provide greater comfort, energy savings and in the case of equipment makers, profitability for their contractor customers.
New directionsThe biennial CMX trade show, which is operated by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, attracted more than 300 exhibitors and 8,000 attendees.
"CMX is the one opportunity every two years for all sectors of the industry across Canada to gather in one location and focus on HVACR business," said Warren Heeley, president of the institute. "The objective of the show has always been to bring suppliers and customers together and hopefully improve the Canadian marketplace."
Several manufacturers gave attendees a closer look at new technologies. Takagi Tankless showed contractors the future of water heating, while Honeywell presented the next generation of commercial thermostats.
Other presentations focused on tools contractors can use to better their businesses. Wendell Bedell, president of the Building Services Institute, presented two seminars: "Why Commercial Sales People Fail" and "Proven Accelerated Growth with Sustained Profitability Strategies." Larry Wieskopf and Gerald Inch from Perfinex Inc. presented a seminar titled "Service Department Profits: Two Essential Tools," while Giovanni Marcelli from Accubid Systems offered attendees a session named "Success and Service."
An addition to this year's show was the "Learning Forum," a three-day educational program showcasing the latest developments in the residential and commercial markets. Twenty-six seminars were available with topics that included energy efficiency, emerging markets, refrigeration replacements, selling commercial projects and mechanical systems.
According to Heeley, the Learning Forum received a lot of positive comments.
"The thing that I found the most interesting were comments that attendees would sit in on the Learning Forum sessions, then go up onto the show floor and look for products and services that fit the opportunities outlined in the sessions," he said.
HydronicsThe forum also included a detailed look at hydronic heating, a topic that will be a major focus for the HRAI in the coming months, officials said. According to the group, its SkillTech Academy training program is currently developing a course in the technology, where water is used to warm areas.
Hydronics consultant Robert Bean was given the task of designing the course, and he was on hand to give attendees a preview. Bean held two separate sessions during the Learning Forum, "Basic Hydronic Heating Controls" and "Introduction to Radiant Floor Heating Systems."
Bean explained that the upcoming SkillTech session would be a three-day certification course called "Residential Radiant Hydronic Heating Design." He indicated the course would provide an overview of basic fluid fundamentals and hydronic controls, as well as focusing on boiler flow and safety switches, system flow, air separation and operating controls.
"The industry is going through a real evolution," said Bean. "And the growth of hot-water heating is in your hands."
Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. also developed several of the seminars for the CMX Learning Forum. Many of these seminars took an in-depth look at some new technologies and their field performance.
A session titled "How Are New HVAC Technologies Performing?" was presented by Mike Swinton, Evgueniy Entchev, Ph.D., and Charles Zaloum, all of the National Resource Council.
The session delved into recent research on combination systems, energy-efficient furnace-fan motors and wastewater heat recovery.
All of these uses have been tested at the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology. The center displayed houses built as test sites. The structures are used to conduct experiments and assess how well they would work in the marketplace.
The center uses automation controls to simulate occupants in the home. For example, the controls will simulate when the "occupants" leave the home for the day and when they return. It also helps them to track energy usage and where energy can be conserved.
Members of the NRC also conducted a seminar during the Learning Forum called "Residential Micro Co-generation." The program took an in-depth look at combined heat and power products, as well as numerous other systems that could be beneficial in the residential HVAC industry.
Don Fugler of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. presented "Practical HVAC Solutions." He discussed common ventilation problems and how to estimate heating equipment size.
Filtering claimsThe course also provided attendees with research on filter efficiency. The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology wanted to find out if current air filters were living up to claims, and which filters do the best job. The study looked at a 1-inch premium-media filter, a charged media-type electronic filter, a 4-inch pleated media filter, a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA filter, and an electronic plate-and-wire model.
The research found that plate-and-wire filters offer the most clean air at a relatively low cost. At the same time, the plate filters were found to produce small amounts of ozone during operation.
Information on the study can be found online at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.
The show's Learning Forum also delved into renewable-energy technologies.
Representatives from National Resources Canada discussed the latest energy-saving technology on the market, as well as financial incentives for using the equipment.
(This article originally appeared in the May 17 edition of The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News.)