A Perfect 10

In the following pages, we present our Product of the Year finalists, listed by category: HVAC, controls/building automation, drives and motors, electrical distribution, lighting, power generation/emergency power, fire protection, communications/security and plumbing. Our judges have narrowed the contestants to two to four finalists per category.


Vektor High-Plume Dilution by Greenheck

This high-plume dilution system is designed for institutional and industrial laboratory applications and employs a multi-stage discharge nozzle that entrains ambient air that is added to the lab exhaust. This additional air not only dilutes the lab exhaust, but also assists in displacing it at a significantly greater distance from the roof—and in turn, further from building makeup air systems—when compared to conventional exhaust systems. Spark-resistant construction is available for facilities that exhaust flammable and explosive solvent vapors. www.greenheck.com .

VSX Series by Bell & Gossett

This new series of double-suction, split-case, base-mounted centrifugal pumps offers the HVAC industry's first wireless pump-monitoring system that allows remote monitoring 24/7 via the Internet from any world location as a standard option, according to the manufacturer. There are three suction/discharge flange configurations, and equipment footprints can be reduced by up to 40% from conventional pump designs. Thanks to the use of computational fluid dynamics during the design process, each flange configuration provides the identical level of hydraulic performance. One judge noted that the pumps would be great for retrofit applications and that they offer an excellent range of hydraulic performance characteristics. www.bellgossett.com .

Evergreen 23VXRV by Carrier

"The world's first water-cooled variable-speed screw chiller," according to the manufacturer, the unit uses HFC-134a refrigerant and has the ability to reduce speed and optimize operation independent of ambient conditions, permitting it to precisely match building load and conserve energy. The variable-speed drive provides a soft start, which helps reduce stress on the compressor and in-rush current at startup. The unit's tri-rotor compressor design reduces the number of moving parts, uses less lubricating oil and eliminates the slide valve. Its hermetic motor operates in a clean, refrigerant-cooled environment, and the design eliminates the potential for shaft-seal leaks and refrigerant/oil loss. www.carrier.com .

APOGEE Wireless by Siemens Building Technologies

This wireless building automation system uses mesh network technology to create a self-forming, self-healing network. Radios automatically start communicating with as many neighboring devices as possible to form the network and route their own and their neighbor's messages, creating multiple redundant communication paths. If a path is disrupted, the network uses the next available optimal communication path. In addition, the wireless devices can be strategically located for better control and increased sensitivity to changing conditions. One judge commented that the system is "more reliable than a wired system and should be less expensive to install." www.us.sbt.siemens.com .

SCN202-T by Ebtron

VAV terminal controller is specifically designed to integrate the manufacturer's airflow sensors with its new zone occupancy meter and allows users to control zone supply at flow rates that were "previously unthinkable." This in turn can lead to lower energy-consumption rates, lower noise levels, more precise thermal control, more efficient equipment selections, more precise pressure control and higher reliability with lower maintenance costs. The controller can continuously update meter entries and exits for real-time zone population counts, making the dynamic reset of OA intake set-points practical and reliable for appropriate space configurations in any type of occupancy. Additionally, the unit includes, and is designed as, a BACnet MS/TP "Master Node" and can be self-configured within the network. One judge noted that the device would be especially useful for VAV controls on dedicated outside air systems. www.ebtron.com .

Native BACnet for Lighting Integrator by Watt Stopper

BACnet option is now available for the manufacturer's lighting control panel product line, enabling native-level integration of lighting controls with a BACnet-based building automation system and ensuring lighting control compliance with energy codes such as ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC. It allows the BAS to schedule, monitor status of and override lighting freely without the need to support lighting-specific functions. The new capability also supports Auto ON and the energy-saving Manual ON function for lighting in areas scheduled as occupied. www.wattstopper.com .

Ultra-Low-Harmonic Drive by ABB

The threat posed by harmonic distortion from electronic equipment and variable-frequency drives has led power companies and end users to demand a solution. To meet this need, these low-voltage, compact drives offer harmonics reduction without the need for multi-pulse transformers, external filters or other external equipment. Suited to a variety of motor-control applications, the drives use an active converter controlled with direct torque control to eliminate low-order harmonics and an active front-end LCL line filter to reduce high-frequency harmonics. The total harmonic current distortion is approximately 4% of the nominal inverter current rating at full load. "It nice to finally have harmonics controlled at the source, rather than upstream or by adding devices," said one judge. www.abb-drives.com .

H2 Adjustable-Speed Drive by Baldor

This family of drives operates three-phase induction motors in several control modes as either open- or closed-control. Removable keypads are interchangeable with all models in the series, and the kepad screen displays operating conditions and programming steps in easy-to-follow text, eliminating the need to look up parameter numbers or program settings. In recent models, the keypad has been enhanced, with five lines of English text and four tables of memory for cloning additional controls. The unit can continue to operate during low-voltage line conditions and phase-loss occurrences, either by reducing power or using the inertia of the motor to continue operation. The control has a unique web server option that allows a user to surf the drive from a remote site. www.baldor.com .

Aegis SGR Shaft-Grounding Brush by Electro Static

When AC motors that are commonly used in HVAC/R systems to drive fans, pumps and air-handling equipment are deployed with variable-frequency drives, currents are induced on the motor shafts. Without a grounding device, these currents would typically discharge through the motor bearings, causing frosting, pitting, fusion craters and fluting. The result is noise and eventual system failure. Grounding brushes protect motor bearings by safely channeling harmful shaft current to ground. Unlike conventional shaft grounding brushes, this product uses conductive microfibers for no friction or wear and lasts for the life of the motor—and with no rpm limits. www.est-aegis.com .

IPC2 Integrated Power Center by Square D

Suited for new and retrofit applications that have both 480Y/277V and 208Y/120V requirements, the unit integrates panelboards, individually mounted circuit breakers and lighting contactors with a dry-type transformer into a packaged system. The 24-in. deep by 42-in. wide footprint is said to reduce space requirements by 50% or more over a traditional stick-built system. At the same time, wall space above a transformer is no longer wasted. "This could be a real time, cost and space saver for small commercial or retail operations," said one judge. "These types of combinations have been around before—but this looks very compact and well-thought out." www.us.squared.com .

Entellisys Low-Voltage Switchgear by GE Consumer & Industrial

Dynamic interaction between bus differential, zone-selective interlock and ground-fault protection eliminate the compromises designers usually have to make between protection and selectivity. Waveforms from each breaker are synchronized to within microseconds, and a complete, time-stamped event log lets users do root-cause analysis and distinguish actual dynamics of the power system as well as actual trip conditions. The system reduces arc flash hazard with optional near-gear and remote HMIs that eliminate the need for operators to be near a moving breaker when it is being racked out or racked in. Software allows for design decisions on options such as bus ratings, branch circuits and breaker and meter location to be made much later in the process. Functions can be reprogrammed once a system is installed and energized. www.entellisys.com .

Quick-Connect Switchboard by Eaton

Ensuring safe and fast connection of a mobile generator to a facility, this switchboard is said by its manufacturer to have proved invaluable after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for powering functions not supported by backup generators—loads that might not be critical but certainly highly coveted, such as HVAC and food service. Available in Type 1 and Type 3R enclosures, the equipment can be installed as a facility's permanent connection point for temporary emergency power when it's needed. "This is a needed and valuable piece of equipment," said one judge. "Previously, many of these were custom-built or field-fabricated. This provides a standard specification." www.EatonElectrical.com .

EcoSystem Fluorescent Lighting Control by Lutron

The system is based on one essential building block: a rapid-start electronic dimming ballast that connects directly to photocells, infrared receivers, occupant sensors and wall stations without interfaces, power packs or controllers. The intelligent ballasts interpret data collected from the various units, adjusts light levels accordingly and transmit data to other ballasts. Rooms, floors and even an entire building can be reconfigured without any changes to power wiring. The ballasts simplify replacement by remembering preset programming so that new units do not need to be readdressed. Up to 64 ballasts and a bus supply can be connected via two-wire communication wire in a loop, which can then be connected with other 64-unit loops to form an even larger system. www.lutron.com .

I-BEAM Fluorescent High-Bay Lighting

When it's 80°F outside, inside temperatures near the ceiling of an unconditioned or partially conditioned space can reach 130°F. According to the manufacturer, this is the first T5-HO fluorescent high bay to be UL/C-UL-listed to operate in environments with high ambient temperatures up to 130°F, and achieves 50% energy reduction compared to 400-watt metal halides while providing equal perceived light levels. Reflectors are open to the surroundings, rather than being designed with a full-box enclosure, with the result that less heat is trapped. Ballasts incorporate aluminum case with increased surface contact area to conduct heat away from temperature-sensitive components. www.lithonia.com .

360° Occupancy Sensors by Watt Stopper/Legrand

This new family of low-profile sensors boasts 360° coverage for detecting room occupancy to automatically turn lights on and off. Available in both line and low-voltage models, one model features ultrasonic sensing, another depends on infrared detection and yet another relies on both technologies. Sensors automatically adjust time delay and sensitivity settings based on occupant activity and space characteristics. The units assign short delays as low as 5 min. for when the space is usually vacant and longer delays up to 30 min. for busier times. Walkthrough mode turns lights off after short visits. Detection signature processing is said to prevent false triggers and provide immunity from RFI and EMI. www.wattstopper.com .

Gensets with ACERT Technology by Caterpillar

Diesel-fueled gensets for standby applications and load management incorporate new technology to comply with EPA emissions requirements for stationary generators. The manufacturer claims that these are the first generators to be offered in the North American market that are EPA Tier 2-certified. The initial rollout of the product line featured models with ratings ranges of 900-1,000 ekW and 1,000%%MDASSML%%1,100 kVA, with 125%%MDASSML%%800 kW models to be released during the past year. At the heart of the ACERT technology are a controller, mechanically actuated electronic fuel injection and crossflow cylinder heads. go.cateps.com .

PowerCommand Genset Control by Cummins

When gensets are paralleled for greater load capacity or better reliability, controls are needed to add these multiple loads in sequence. The strong point of this microprocessor-based master-control module for bus paralleling and switching of normal power to standby systems is its integration of all functions into a single system. The control reads AC voltages up to 480 volts AC and can be configured for any frequency, voltage and power connection configuration from 120 volts to 15,000 volts AC. An optional operator panel can be provided, or the module can be monitored with conventional meters, switches and control monitoring lamps. "This makes design easier and cheaper," said one judge. www.cumminspower.com .

Flywheel Energy Storage from Liebert/Pentadyne

When integrated with a UPS system, flywheel power provides time for an orderly, safe shutdown of process operations and protection against more than 99.5% of power disturbances. The unit offers a high range of operating temperatures for use in extreme environments where batteries have been ruled out. The flywheel, which is said to withstand outage cycling of hundreds of thousands of events without degradation, is manufactured by Pentadyne. Both companies submitted for the competition and are therefore co-finalists. www.liebert.com .

QT Standby Generators by Generac

This line of automatic standby generators, ranging in output from 15 kW to 150 kW, features sound-attenuated enclosures to ensure quiet operation under full load. The gensets automatically run at reduced engine speed when utility power is present, significantly reducing the noise level during weekly self-test and exercise cycles. The manufacturer suggests that the product line is especially suited to small and medium-sized businesses operating in urban areas. In addition to low noise levels, the models are low-priced and run on natural gas to make them more environmentally friendly. www.generac.com .

E Series by Gamewell-FCI

This expandable emergency evacuation system employs "building block" architecture, allowing multiple modules and cabinets to be configured to suit a wide range of applications, from a stand-alone fire alarm control panel to an expansive mass-notification system. Its distributed communication control capability provides clear instructions, automated or live, to needed areas—even on a floor-by-floor basis. Each segment of the system operates independently, allowing evacuation instructions to be delivered even if part of the system is damaged. One judge noted that the product's broadband capability, which facilitates speedy, reliable communication between nodes, could be "huge." www.gamewell-fci.com .

New Generation Safe-T-Line by Belden

These fire alarm cables, which include circuit integrity (CI), CI-PLTC and circuit integrity in conduit (CIC) cables, connect the fire command center to various building zones in the event of a high-rise fire or other emergency. As electrical codes dictate that CI and CIC cables must not be spliced between the fire command center and the zone served, the lines are offered at 1,000 ft., with longer lengths available upon request. Additionally, CI cables are riser-rated, meaning they can be installed vertically and still withstand direct contact with flames. One judge commented that the line is "one of those subtle products that could see big use if marketed correctly." www.belden.com .

Cheetah Xi by Fike

Acting as a replacement for a previous series, this intelligent suppression control system meets the new UL 864 9th Edition standard and can achieve response times between manual pull station and notification appliance of as little as one quarter of a second. The panel comes standard with two signaling line circuits that support 254 devices each and is expandable to four loops for a total device capacity of 1,016—with any mix and match of sensors and modules. The system employs a "zone and state" relationship, where all input and output devices must be assigned to at least one zone or to all zones, each one a defined area to be protected. www.fike.com .

BEAM200(S) by System Sensor

An intelligent project beam smoke detector, this unit is suited for protecting open areas with high ceilings where other smoke detection methods might be difficult to install and maintain. It has six sensitivity levels including two Acclimate settings. When either Acclimate setting is selected, the detector automatically adjusts its sensitivity to the environment. Its integral sensitivity test feature consists of a test filter attached to a servomotor inside the detector optics. Using a remote test station, the motor is activated and moves the filter in the pathway of the light beam, thereby testing sensitivity. The device operates at temperatures from —22°F to 131°F and provides 16 to 328 ft. of protection coverage. One judge noted that while he doesn't think the device will dramatically change life in the building, he does think it will reduce installation costs. www.systemsensor.com .

4000 Designer Series by Wiremold

Steel raceway features an optional downward-facing configuration for receptacles and data jacks, which improves connection reliability and creates more space inside the raceway to meet cable bend radius requirements. It boasts a unique "crossover" feature that enables both power receptacles and data activations to be positioned in the same channel or together on the downward-facing surface, while maintaining the integrity of data channel separation when the cables cross the power channel. And as the entire width of the raceway is available—not just one channel—the cable bend can be more gradual. One judge noted that the raceway has a "practical and functional design that will provide more pleasing arrangements for interior finish." www.wiremold.com .

VideoJet 8008 by Bosch Security

This new eight-channel security video recorder, part of a complete line of IP network video products, is the first multi-channel unit to offer dual streaming. When the device is used to stream to a centralized network video recorder, its internal hard drive can be used to buffer video in the event of a network outage, allowing video recording to continue. When the network is back up, the missing video is "reinserted" into the NVR as quickly as possible. And the internal hard drive contains up to 800 GB of space, which offers months of recorded video without relying on the network. One judge deemed it a great product for security CCTV over Internet and interfaces with existing analog security systems. Another noted that it "seems to be a big step forward in security." www.boschsecurity.us .

CP 682/680 by Hilti

A new cast-in firestop device (CP 682) boasts one-stop installation for a variety of floor-penetrating systems, including metal pipes in floors, insulated metal pipe and cable bundles, and is available to fit pipes in 2 1/2-in. and 4-in. sizes. It complements an existing cast-in device (CP 680)—available in three sizes from 2 1/2 in. to 6 in.—that is geared toward plastic pipes through concrete floors and concrete-over-metal decking. Its standard height is 10 in., it features an integrated water and smoke seal, and it requires no additional caulking. www.us.hilti.com .

SMOOTH (Side-Mount-Operator-Over-The-Handle) by Sloan Valve

This add-on retrofit product converts most of the manufacturer's manual Flushometer flushing devices to electronic, water-saving mode in less than a minute—using only a screwdriver and without turning off the water supply. The unit works out of the box for either left or right handle installation on exposed manual water closet and urinal Flushometers. It features a true manual override option that enables the flushing device to work even in the event of a power failure, and it "sleeps" when the restroom is dark, extending battery life. "This is a great product!" claimed one judge, adding that he sees widespread application potential. www.sloanvalve.com .

EZ Box and EZ Trim by Eaton

Panelboards are designed to eliminate the safety hazards associated with conventional galvanized steel enclosure boxes. Box flanges are bent and coated with polyester-based paint to dull sharp steel edges, making them safer and easier to handle. Each flange is adjustable outward up to 3/4 in. for flush installation, allowing box to be level and flat with the finished wall after wall material is installed. This feature helps correct wall irregularities while maintaining metal-to-metal contact with box and trim. www.eatonelectrical.com

Direct-Coupled Actuators by Honeywell

Non-spring return, low-torque direct-coupled actuators offer a mode selector that allows one model to operate in several different applications by allowing the user to select floating, modulating and two-position modes from a potentiometer on the front of the actuator. Compact design and accessible declutch make it convenient to install where space is tight, such as in a VAV box. The wiring access cover detaches, making wiring easier and eliminating the need for a junction box. customer.honeywell.com/buildings

Onyx FirstVision by Notifier

This wayfinding navigational tool for firefighters and other emergency responders uses a PC-based, 17-in. LCD touch screen to graphically display real-time critical information on the origin and spread of a fire. The system identifies active devices, such as smoke detectors and their exact location in the building, along with information about potential hazards to responders. Building floor plans are displayed with location of fire alarm devices, water supplies, evacuation and access routes, fire barriers, shutoffs and structural hazards. www.notifier.com

Microtech Sidewall Sprinklers by Viking

With the launch of this horizontal sidewall sprinkler model, the manufacturer extended this technology to larger room sizes. As a result, it now offers sidewall sprinklers with the lowest flows at any listed room size, including the industry's only listings for 18 ft. × 20 ft. rooms. UL listings for the sprinkler include the industry's lowest flows for 16 ft. × 18 ft., 18 ft. × 18 ft. and 18 ft. × 20 ft. rooms. www.vikingcorp.com

Linkosity Electrical Distribution by Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellem

Modular plug-and-play wiring system for 20-amp and 30-amp circuits up to 600 volts consists of re-configurable, factory-defined assemblies that are intended to provide a cost-effective alternative to conventional wiring methods. Basic components of the system include code-compliant distribution components (cables, receptacles, tees and pass-throughs) NEMA-configured point-of-use devices and self-contained power supplies. www.hubbellwiring.com

Evaporative Condenser Rooftop System by McQuay

These roof-top units are billed as a way to pick up points for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating in two different categories. The manufacturer claims that the units save up to 40% on condensing energy vs. air-cooled systems, contributing points under the "optimize energy performance" heading. Also, a chemical-free water treatment system that eliminates the need for harsh chemicals qualifies for LEED points under the "innovation" heading. www.mcquay.com

Latitude Water Chillers by York

These air-cooled chillers incorporate a variable-speed drive technology with screw compressors better energy efficiency and level noise. Using HFC-134a refrigerant, the units are available from 150 to 260 TR, and provide full-load design efficiencies as high as 10.3 EER, which exceeds ASHRAE 90.1. Integrated part-load value (IPLV) as high as 15.2 EER is said to deliver an average annual savings of 15% to 25% when compared with traditional air-cooled chillers. For acoustic control, the equipment uses a proprietary load-limit control function. www.york.com

IRIS-M-PS Motorized Damper by Continental Fan

This fully closing iris damper measures and controls airflow at one location and integrates with building automation systems. Available in five sizes—4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 in.—the units boast a positive seal with 100% shut-off capability, and accept either 0%%MDASSML%%10 volts DC or 4%%MDASSML%%20 mA signal. Other features include fingertip control with adjustable set points and interlocking galvanized steel-plate construction. www.continentalfan.com

EME3625 Wind-Driven Rain-Resistant Louver by Ruskin

The high airflow capacity of this unit, says the manufacturer, makes it excellent for retrofits and other applications where a high amount of airflow has to move through a relatively small louver. And the narrow 3-in. frame depth reduces the price. These louvers demonstrated 100% rain rejection under AMCA wind driven rain testing with 8-in. per hr. rain and 50-mph wind conditions. www.ruskin.com

Auxiliary Power Heavy-Duty Safety Switch by Eaton

These switches are touted as a better way for electrical and HVAC professionals to comply with new NEC power source requirements. The switches combine a safety switch, control transformer and an externally accessible 15-amp GFI into a single product. They also feature a gasketed NEMA 3R outdoor enclosure and secondary fusing for control transformer. With 30- to 100-amp main ratings and 208, 240, 480 and 600-volt auxiliary circuit primary voltages, they are well-suited as a rooftop power source. www.eatonelectrical.com

9390 Double-Conversion UPS by Powerware

This uninterruptible power supply is designed to isolate output power from input anomalies and deliver 100% conditioned, perfect sine-wave output. The system supports loads from 40 to 160 kVA in a base configuration. Up to four UPS can be paralled without a tie cabinet. With a tie cabinet, up to eight modules can be paralleled for a total capacity of 1,280 kVA. The system's 0.9 output power factor accommodates high power factor load requirements. www.powerware.com

StacoVAR Power-Factor Correction and Harmonic Mitigation by Staco

This network of equipment and systems has been designed for power-factor correction and harmonic mitigation. The products offer both fixed and switched configurations from 240 volts to 600 volts AC. The product platform allows for standalone units, multiple assemblies and integration with MCCs and switchgear. www.stacoenergy.com

In the following pages, we present our Product of the Year finalists, listed by category: HVAC, controls/building automation, drives and motors, electrical distribution, lighting, power generation/emergency power, fire protection, communications/security and plumbing. Our judges have narrowed the contestants to two to four finalists per category. We now ask you, our readers, to peruse these finalists, then go to www.csemag.com and vote for the one you feel is the best submission in each category. Also, upon completion of your review, please vote for an overall winner.

HVAC Finalists

Controls Finalists

Drives Finalists

Electrical Finalists

Lighting Finalists

Power Finalists Generation

Fire Finalists

Communications/ Finalists Security

Plumbing Finalists

Honorable Mentions


A. Anil Ahuja , P.E., LEED AP, RCDD Senior Vice President CCJM Engineers, Ltd. Chicago

B. Mark Beirne , P.E., Lead Electrical Engineer EYP Mission Critical Facilities Chicago

C. Jim Bychowski , P.E., Director of Marketing Schirmer Engineering Corp. Deerfield, Ill.

D. Jeffrey Newcomb , P.E., Associate KJWW Engineering Conslts. Rock Island, Ill.

E. Gerald Schultz , P.E., Fire Protection International Consortium, Inc. Downers Grove, Ill.

F. Brian Rener , P.E., Vice President, Chief Electrical Engineer A. Epstein and Sons, International, Inc. Chicago

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