Product of the Year Voting time is here!

By Patrick Lynch, Project Manager August 5, 2010


Consulting-Specifying Engineer’s annual Sixth Product of the Year competition announces its finalists. Readers can cast their votes in these 10 categories online for a chance at deciding who receives the premier award for new products in the HVAC/R, fire, electrical, lighting, building software, BAS, and plumbing systems engineering markets.

Check out the digital edition and read the full story about the 2010 Product of the Year Finalists.

This year marks the Sixth Annual Product of the Year Awards. Different from years past when judges were invited to our office, the CSE staff invited professional engineers from around the country to participate in our annual evaluation of the best products released during 2009 in a digital forum. 

Initially, our judges were apprehensive about undertaking such a time  consuming task of evaluating and judging products from manufacturers all around the country. Ironically, after the judging was complete, and all the scores were tallied, the overwhelming feedback from our judges was a feeling of gratitude for exposing them to such innovative and trendsetting products.

Click on the product category to view that category in our digital edition format.

Electrical Distributon

Combiner box
The Cooper Bussmann Combiner boxes meet solar power circuit protection requirements while offering a selection from three series, all with fuses preinstalled when specified and including finger-safe modular fuse holders. The ETL-Listed to UL 1741 Standard combiner box includes 4 to 24 input circuits and is configured for both positive and negative grounded arrays. The device features single or dual 167 F output terminals and steel or fiberglass NEMA 3, 3R, 4, or 4X enclosures with seamless door gaskets. #1

Lighting panelboard
The Pow-R-Line 1aF and 2aF lighting panelboards from Eaton are designed for selectively coordinated system applications where high fault current levels are present. The panelboards incorporate Class CC fuses for branch circuit protection, and when applied with the appropriate upstream fuses, selective coordination ratings may be achieved for available fault currents at the panel of us to 200,000 AIC. The fuses are coupled with breakers on the line side of the fuse, and each fuse is enclosed in a fuse holder that is factory connected from the line-side breaker. #2

Elevator control panelboard
The elevator control panelboard from Eaton is designed to meet requirements mandated by building codes for fire protection and safety within elevator shafts. Designed for installations with a single feeder to multiple elevators within the same elevator core, the panelboard is built on the Cutler-Hammer Pow-R-Line 4F panelboard chassis. The device features 30-200A, 240 Vac, and 600 Vac fused switches to feeder elevator, 200,000 A rms short-circuit current rating, 120 Vac shunt trip, and Class J fuse clips. #3

The Pow-R-Flex low ampere busway from Eaton features an extruded aluminum housing, two standard color options, shutter mechanism safe plug-in outlets, integral ground path, high short-circuit withstand ratings, and a variety of plug-in units. The straight sections of the plug-in busway are available in 2 to 10 ft increments. The device meets NEMA, UL, CS, and ISO requirements, and the Pow-R-Bridge joint assembly and torque-indicating bolt provide a secure connection. #4

Grounded relay
The PGR-5330 advanced ground-fault and resistor-monitoring relay from Littelfuse Inc. provides both ground-fault detection and continuous monitoring of the neutral-to-ground path to ensure the integrity of the resistor. The device is communications enabled with a standard RS-232 interface and optional DeviceNet, Profibus, and Ethernet ports. The device can be applied to high- and low-resistance grounded transformers and generators, and the device features wide setpoint ranges compatible with any neutral connected NGR up to 35 kW system voltage. #5

Emergency, on-site, standby power

The MGE Galaxy 3500 from APC Schneider Electric features factory-installed hot swappable batteries and electronics to reduce installation time. The device features a TUV-certified 94% efficiency rate and ships with dual mains input and a built-in maintenance bypass switch. Additionally, the product includes an environment monitoring card, along with a start-up service to ensure proper configuration. The UPS relies on IP 51 reliability protection, a standard 2-mm thick steel plate enclosure, and user-replaceable air filters. #6

The Eaton 9395 UPS with Energy Saver System delivers 99% efficiency when utility power is within normal tolerances, and when the utility power falls outside acceptable limits for IT equipment, the UPS switches to double-conversion mode. The intelligent power core continuously monitors incoming power conditions and balances the need for efficiency with the need for premium protection. The UPS is rated for 550 kVA and provides N + 1 redundancy. #7

Generator set
The Kohler Large Industrial Gas (180-400 kW), EPA-certified generators from Kohler Co. provide one-source responsibility for the generating system and accessories. The generator set and its components are prototype-tested, factory-built, and production-tested. The 60 Hz generator set offers a UL 2200 listing and accepts rated load in one step. The set meets NFPA 110, Level 1 requirements and conforms to the New Source Performance Standard for stationary spark-ignited emissions. #8

Generator set
The MTU Onsite Energy series 1600 generator set is a diesel-powered genset covering a range of 250 to 600 kW. The genset is based onthe MTU Series 1600 engine, which has a power range as low as 250 kW and up to 600 kW. The genset features EPA certification, compliance to ISO 8528-5 testing for transient response at 85% load, NFPA 110 one-step rated load acceptance, and digital control panels that are UL recognized. #9

Lighting Controls

The HALO LED Module 900 series from Cooper Lighting are designed for retrofit applications with an Edison screw base adapter. The downlight exceeds the light output and distribution of a 75 or 85 W lamp, while using less than 15 W. Dimmable to 15% with standard 120 V electric low-voltage dimmers, the downlight provides a color rendering index of 80 and a selection of four color temperatures—2,700 K, 3,000 K, 3,500 K, and 4,000 K. #10

Wireless occupancy sensors
The LevNet wireless lighting controls from Leviton Manufacturing Co. are self-powered devices that feature EnOcean’s wireless technology. The devices can be used for single-pole on/off switching, multi location switching, HVAC control, and motor control. Requiring no external power or batteries, the sensors are interoperable with other devices on the LevNet RF wireless network. The devices use ambient room light and switch products use kinetic energy to power themselves, and the devices can send and receive signals from 50 to 150 ft. #11

Wireless system
The GRAFIK Eye QS Wireless from Lutron Electronics Co. is a fully customizable preset light and shade control system. The system uses wireless connections to Sivoia QS wireless shades, wireless occupancy sensors, and additional GRAFIK EYE QS wireless units. The device features an energy savings indicator, built-in astronomical and programmable time clock, daylight harvesting of incandescent and fluorescent lights, and direct connection to occupancy sensors for manual on/automatic off function. #12

Wireless controls
The Airwave set of wireless and self-powered controls from Ledalite uses natural sources of energy including solar power and kinetic motion to wirelessly communicate with luminaries. The devices’ photo sensors, which are powered by tiny integral PV cells, monitor ambient light levels and wirelessly signal luminaries to reduce output and save energy when there’s enough natural light. Mountable on any surface, including glass, concrete, tile, and wood, the controls can lower the amount of copper wiring infrastructure in a facility by up to 30%. #13

Lighting controls
WattStopper’s Digital Lighting Management is an all-digital suite of plug-together lighting controls that automatically configures to the most energy efficiency sequence of operation based on components in the system. The device uses Cat 5e RJ45 cables to connect the room components, which eliminates the labor associated with interpreting wiring diagrams, setting DIP switches, and terminating low voltage wires. The device can also provide plug-load control, allowing building owners to leverage code compliant occupancy sensors and reduce energy costs. #14

Networked BAS, energy management systems

Energy monitor
The Convia-enabled Wiremold System from Legrand/Wiremold and Convia helps companies meet energy goals by allowing for the integrated control and monitoring of plug load, lighting, and HVAC/ thermostats from a controls and management platform. The platform provides real-time energy usage reports displayed on its dashboard, and users can control and meter energy at a zone or circuit level from one place with the Energy Track Reporting Tool. #15

The enteliTOUCH from Delta Controls provides control of a building’s wireless zone controllers. The device manages enteliMESH wireless controllers and sensors, making control applications such as VAV, fan coil, and heat comp cost effective. The device configures wireless devices and sets up zone controller applications through a touch screen interface, without the need for laptops or software. The enteliTOUCH provides energy gauges, bar charts, line graphs, schedules, setpoints, and customized building system graphics to the facility manager. #16

Energy monitor
The Web-Mon, Web-enabled energy monitor from E-Mon provides a password-protected Web interface that lets users view live energy data, charts, and graphs via any Internet browser. No additional software or programming is needed to obtain “dashboard” display of up to 24 electric, water, gas, steam, BTU, or other meter inputs. Real-time data, including CO2, SO2, and NOx emissions, is displayed alongside historical readings from the previous 7, 30, and 365 days. Entering the IP address of the Web-Mon into the user’s browser displays graphical screen templates showing electrical consumption, peak demand, power factor, volts, and amps by phase. #17

Pump controller
The Technologic 5500 variable speed pump controller from Bell & Gossett features the BACnet Testing Laboratories Mark for both BACnet MS/TP and BACnet IP. The device features a plug-and-plug automatic discovery functionality that allows the BAS to automatically detect the pump controller on the network and build a database of communication points. The pump features a summer/winter switch that processes two independent setpoints depending on the season, a pump exerciser for constant speed booster systems, and an emergency power feature. #18

Communicating thermostats
The FlexStat series of intelligent BACnet communicating thermostats from KMC Controls provide networked zone control for common HVAC equipment. AHUs, FCUs, HPUs, and RTUs can be controlled via the device’s on-board library of application programs. The device’s menu system provides rapid configuration of a range of HVAC control applications, and the applications library is customizable to specific requirements including humidity and motion sensing and flexible output configurations. #19


The LC Series chiller from AAON is designed for comfort cooling or process cooling applications. Variable capacity scroll compressors provide precise leaving water temperature control. The compressors also reduce or eliminate water loop volume requirements, while eliminating the need for energy-wasting hot gas bypass. Variable speed condenser fans are matched with variable capacity compressors for high efficiencies. The chiller’s controller can integrate with BACnet Modbus, LonTalk, and Johnson N2 protocol systems. #20

The RN Series cabinet from AAON is insulated with spray foam insulation and the supply fans are direct drive, which eliminates the problems associated with belt-driven systems including continuous maintenance and belt tightening, belt debris that clogs filters and soils supply air diffusers, and energy lost transferring energy from the motor to the fan. The compressor is variable capacity and offers precise load matching capability. Multiple unit efficiency options are available and meet ASHRAE 90.1, ASHRAE 189, CEE Tier 1, and CEE Tier 2 standards. #21

Water-cooled system
Daikin’s VRV-WIII is a compact water-cooled system designed to provide energy savings, as well as operate in geothermal applications. The system is available in six system capacities ranging from 6 to 21 tons. VRV-WIII is available in unified heat recovery and heat pump condensing units. The system features a connection ratio of 50% to 130% due to the small footprint, and it is capable of double stacked installation. #22

Heat Pump
Daikin’s VRV III-C heat pump provides high-efficiency heating in cold climates by introducing a second stage refrigeration cycle, which begins to cycle when temperatures fall below 41 F. The second stage refrigeration increases the pressure to levels allowing comfortable heat at outdoor temperatures as low as -13 F. The two-stage compression system uses a second outdoor unit—a booster unit—and eliminates the need for auxiliary heating. The system heats up in six minutes at 14 F, even during times of extreme cold. #23

Rooftop unit
The Energence rooftop unit line from Lennox Industries breaks the 17.0 SEER efficiency barrier, and the system’s Prodigy unit controller provides verification that the unit has been installed properly and is operating as intended. The unit features the SmartWire system for accurate setup, via keyed and color-coded connectors to help prevent incorrect wiring. The unit exceeds DOE minimum efficiency ratings by 30%, as well as the Consortium for Energy Efficiency’s 2010 Tier 2 rebate levels. #24

Test instruments, meters, data loggers

The Shark 200-S sub-meter from Electro Industries/GaugeTech provides accurate 0.2% revenue-certified bidirectional energy measurement coupled with extensive interval data logging and patented IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi communication. The meter features 2 MB of logging capability while recording power aspects such as voltage, current, frequency, watts, VARs, and PF, in addition to interval energy data. The meter can store up to three historical logs, as well as alarm and anti-tampering system events logs. #25

Thermal imager
The Fluke Ti32 thermal imager features a 320 x 240 sensor to provide detailed thermal images to the user. The imager helps the user strengthen maintenance programs and increase reliability by detecting programs in electrical installations, electromechanical equipment, and process equipment. The imager uses Fluke IR-Fusion technology to combine high-precision thermal images with visual images, and the 3-D viewing makes hot or cold spots pop out of the background for easy viewing. #26

Digital multimeter
The Fluke 233 digital multimeter features a detachable wireless display. By sliding the display out of the meter body, the user can place the display up to 33 ft from the point of measurement. The detachable feature allows the user to find a comfortable position to view test data, view readings when the test point is across the room, run tests and read results at a safe distance from electrical and mechanical hazards, and devote full attention to the separate tasks of positioning the meter and reading test results. #27

Digital multimeter
The Fluke 28 II digital multimeter is IP 67-rated for water and dust resistance and features an extended operating temperature range of 5 to 131 F. The multimeter will function in -40 F temperature for up to 20 min and it will operate in 95% humidity. The multimeter is designed and tested to withstand a 10-ft drop. #28

Software: Design, modeling, analysis

The Project Assistant from GE allows engineers in roughly 15 min to gather electrical distribution specs, drawings, and budget prices for a building in the planning stages. The device estimates are designed to support buildings where the utility service is up to 4,000 A at 480 V. The software’s six steps include logging in, selecting a project type, selecting products, entering specifications, reviewing the summary, and collecting results. #29

Energy management system
The PowerLogic ION EEM from Schneider Electric is a unifying application that complements and extends the benefits of existing energy-related data resources. The software helps manage all utilities, benchmark and compare facility performance, measure and verify savings from energy conservation projects, reduce operational costs, manage demand controls schemes; and identify utility billing errors. #30

Sizing software
The Power Design Pro software from Generac Power Systems Inc. is a sizing and design program created by engineers to support both electrical and mechanical design. The software uses algorithms to accurately model the load’s characteristics by using full harmonic and transient analysis to ensure complete generator-to-load compatibility. The software also features specification sheets, installation drawings, emission information, sound data and calculator, gas and exhaust pipe sizing, decrement and damage curves, a specification text library, and the ability to link directly to supporting dealers. #31

Fire and life-safety

Fire alarm control panel
The Bosch FPA-1000 mid-range fire alarm control panel features IP browser-based programming and time-saving remote diagnostic and monitoring capabilities. The panel provides access to the user from any Internet-enabled location without dedicated software. Built-in Bosch Conettix IP technology allows the device to communicate over local or wide area networks for more efficient alarm reporting. The analog addressable device provides integrated gas detection capability and alarming for CO and other gases. #32

Touch screen display
The ONYX FirstVision interactive touch screen display from NOTIFIER features a campus view setting to deliver real-time information from multiple fire alarm and CCTV systems throughout facilities and campuses across the globe. Integration with Honeywell’s Rapid Eye DVR systems allows the device to provide first responders and security personnel with live video of various facility locations. The device helps assess fire conditions, locate occupants, and find entryways. The system ties in other NOTIFIER fire alarms over new or existing TCP/IP networks. #33

Smoke detectors
The NEMA 4-rated InnovairFlex Watertight duct smoke detectors from System Sensor are built to operate on rooftops or other difficult environments without enclosures. The UV-resistant housing of the detector converts to both rectangular and square configurations, while protecting against dirt, rain, dust, and hose-directed water. These detectors operate in temperatures from -4 to 158 F and humidity ranges of 0% to 95% noncondensing. The detectors are operable in airflow speeds from 100 to 4,000 ft/min. without the need for low-flow adaptors or baffles. #34

Preaction actuated valve
The FireLock NXT Series 769 Preaction actuated valve with AutoConvert Trim from Victaulic is a patented package for preaction systems and works to maintain fire detection, alarm, and valve response during power outages. The system ensures there is always a functional fire protection system, even during blackout conditions. The latching solenoid operates on a quick pulse of power, which does not create a constant battery draw that can compromise alarm performance. #35

Releasing panels
The Flex Series releasing panels for controlling agent-based suppression or deluge systems from Gamewell-FCI feature stand alone or supplemental fire protection and control in single or dual hazard applications. UL-listed for a choice of clean agent, dry chemical, high-pressure CO2, water, or foamwater suppression, the series has built-in strobe synchronization, 7-A output power, cross-zone functionality, and programmable input/output capabilities. The common applications include limiting the damage from smoke and fire in computer rooms, telecommunications equipment, and industrial metalworking operations. #36

Plumbing and water management

Water heater and boiler monitor
The iCOMM water heater and boiler monitor from A.O. Smith allows the user to manage, monitor, and interact with other A.O. Smith water heaters and boilers from any remote locations via the Internet. BACnet compatible, the system provides leak detection and fault alerts for any unit through e-mail or text messaging. The device provides 90 days worth of water heater data, and multiple device adapters can be used to connect multiple tank units to a communications module. #37

Low-flush toilet
The H2Option from American Standard is a siphonic dual flush toilet with strong push-and-pull action created by a forceful jetted action under the rim. The toilet uses 1 gal of water per flush on the low setting and 1.6 gal on a full flush. The toilet does not require steep slopes like typical washdown toilets, which helps eliminate less waste clinging to the side of the bowl and less splashing. #38

The ecocirc e3 Series of energy efficiency pumps from Bell & Gossett provide high performance through electronically commutated motor (ECM)/permanent magnet (PM) technology. The ECM/PM and spherical motor design enables the pump to operate on as little as 10 W of power. The device is available with an integrated thermostat and plug-in timer with no field wiring required. The pump provides instant hot water and uses only one movable part, which is the rotor/impeller unit that is suspended on a wear-resistant ceramic ball. #39

Condensing water heater
The ARMOR line of high-efficiency condensing water heaters from Lochinvar features inputs of 600,000, 700,000, and 800,000 Btu/hr. The water heaters feature 98% thermally efficient models, a stainless steel heat exchanger, 5:1 modulating turndown, and Lochinvar’s SMART SYSTEM operating control, which includes a built-in cascading sequencer for installations using up to eight water heaters. Designed for installations with a separate store tank, the device eliminates problems encountered with traditional tank-type water heaters. #40

Grinder system
The SANICUBIC Class Lifting Station from Saniflo is a grinder system cable of handling waste from multiple plumbing fixtures throughout a commercial building at rates up to 25 gpm. Two, 1-hp motors power the grinder’s fast-rotating cutting blades, which reduce solids in wastewater from toilets, tubs, showers, sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers. When the wastewater level reaches the trigger point within the unit, the pumping system activates, which is capable of pumping up to 36 ft vertically and 328 ft horizontally. #41

Equipment-level sensors and controls

Temperature sensors
The TR20 Wireless Series of wireless temperature sensors from Honeywell International helps reduce labor and material costs, particularly in retrofit applications. The sensors and receivers are factory RF-matched and shipped together. One kit offers temperature only, and the other offers temperature, setpoint adjustment, and override. The device requires no field configuration and the wall module features a built-in signal strength indicator, which eliminates guesswork on whether the signal is strong, weak, or nonexistent. #42

Pump controller
The McDonnell & Miller 1575 electronic low water cut-off is designed for use on commercial steam and hot water boilers with pressure ratings up to 250 PSIG. The unit consists of a three-probe water column and electronic control box. The microprocessor-based design is suited for boilers that have a rapidly fluctuating water line as the time delays guard against burner and/or feed pump cycling when the water line is unstable. The onboard feed pump relay is rated for motors up to 1 hp and can be used to energize a motor starter for larger pumps. #43

The PXC Compact 36 from Siemens includes 36 points and the ability to add I/O Expansion, FLN, or both depending on the support needed. The combination of the device with the expandability using the TX-10 Range provides features such as 36 points onboard the controller flexibility of 24 and 36 universal input and output points, support for up to 96 P1 or MS/TP FLN devices per controller, and a UL 864 listing for control. The RoHS-compliant device uses soy-based inks and provides more than 50% energy savings achieved by using low power circuit. #44