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Energy Efficiency in Today's Heating and Cooling Systems

I just got back from attending the 2013 AHR show (American Air conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Expo) in Dallas, Texas a couple of weeks ago. The AHR Expo is absolutely humongous! The expo takes place over three days. There were approximately 1,800 manufacturers from all over the world showcasing their products, services and technologies to engineers, sales representatives, heating contractors and more. In fact, I heard reports that as many as 30,000 people attended the expo on the first day alone!

It’s been close to five years since I attend the AHR Expo. I was quite overwhelmed with the number of vendors that were scattered throughout the Dallas Convention Center. I literally must have walked over five miles each day just on the expo floor alone. It’s interesting to see the array of products that I had no idea even existed, including products from hundreds of manufacturers from China trying to gain entrance to the lucrative U.S. market.

One thing that has stood out from five years ago was the number of vendors who touted their product as energy efficient or “green.” Energy efficiency and energy management systems were clearly the focus for many of the vendors. There were hundreds of manufacturers that showcased their energy efficient products, such as solar panels for creating electricity or creating hot water that off-set energy consumption.

There were many manufacturers showcasing their new hot water heating products. There are millions of tank waters heaters installed throughout the United States that are fueled by gas, electricity or solar. Tomorrow this technology may be left in the rear view mirror as hybrid water heating systems are currently developing before our eyes. These new systems will be derived from heat pump technology to increase the efficiency of heating water by more than 200 percent. Some of these systems may also be interconnected to solar thermal water heating systems that will further increase efficiencies.

Energy management systems, integrated with your home computer or mobile phone were also a focal point at this year’s show. A number of vendors were demonstrated the ability to control temperatures in each room of a home by monitoring predictive outdoor temperatures and setting thermostats accordingly.

I also noticed the complexity of these innovative products and begin to think of what lies ahead with new technologies that will heat and cool our homes. Are the products getting easier for the homeowner to operate while more complicated to repair? There has to be an easier way. Next year the AHR Expo will be in New York. Who knows - perhaps at this show will unveil a new product to make your life comfortable without being complex. Stay tuned!