2008 Product of the Year

It’s time once again to unveil the winners of our annual reader choice, Product of the Year competition.


It’s time once again to unveil the winners of our annual reader choice, Product of the Year competition. Our distinguished panel of judges chose gold, silver, and bronze winners in 11 different categories.

The Product of the Year Awards were established to present Consulting-Specifying Engineer readers with the top new products in the major MEP engineering system disciplines Consulting-Specifying Engineer regularly covers:
building automation and controls
power generation
fire protection
test instruments,
design, model, and analysis software .

Through a two-part process, entries were screened by a panel of engineers and the finalists were presented in the Specifier’s Guide mailed with the May 2008 issue. Then, subscribers voted online at www.csemag.com , and the votes were screened for ballot-stuffing and manufacturers voting for their own products.

Congratulations to all the products that received awards and a special congratulations to the 2008 Most Valuable Product, the Digital Precise Air Controller (D-PAC) from AAON .


Building Automation Controls


GOLD: Web-based BAS controller


WebStat Controller from Honeywell International offers lower energy costs with economizer integration, 365-day scheduling, special event schedules, and room integration. The controller features motion detection inputs and time-of-day relay outputs. Remote monitoring and control of communicating thermostats is via a unique IP address, a Web browser, or Internet access. The trending and alarming features allow users to track temperature, humidity, discharge air temperature, and outdoor air temperature.




SILVER: Wireless room controller

Apogee Wireless v2 from Siemens ensures that wireless room temperature sensors are immune to signal interruption with redundant mesh networking technology. The wireless field-level network (WFLN) communicates with any radio on the WFLN and provides redundant communication paths back to its associated controller. The sensors feature an LCD that displays room temperature value, set point values, override condition, and diagnostic information. The sensors have a five-year battery life and can communicate wirelessly with room controllers when in range of any radio on the network. By eliminating the need for wiring, the controllers reduce field-level network and room temperature sensor installation time. The wireless controllers provide optimal sensing and control in areas that have no network wiring.




BRONZE: IP BAS controllers

Xenta 700 series of IP controllers from TAC directly connects to the Ethernet network in any building. The controllers communicate on standard IP networks and are accessible via standard Web browsers, which offer the operators instant access to correct all malfunctions that keep the indoor climate functioning efficiently. Using standard protocols on the IP network, such as HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP, installation is available to all networks with low bandwidth usage. The controller can work as a standalone unit for local operation, function with a number of controllers for several buildings, or connect to an enterprise-wide system.






GOLD: Temperature controller


The digital precise air control system (D-PAC) from AAON controls both temperature and humidity with an energy-efficient rooftop unit. The controller consists of a digital scroll compressor, modulating hot gas reheat, and an economizer with three independently controlled sections: outside air, return air, and return air bypass. The system’s digital scroll compressor provides energy-efficient, load-matching temperature control. For load-matching humidity control, the system uses a combination of the digital scroll compressor, return air bypass, and modulating hot gas reheat. To control both temperature and humidity, a user must be able to vary both the cooling coil temperature and the reheat coil temperature. In a direct expansion refrigeration system, the most efficient way to modulate the cooling coil temperature is with a modulating capacity compressor. The controller’s modulating compressor and the modulating reheat combine to eliminate the temperature and humidity fluctuations associated with on-off style HVAC equipment.




SILVER: Scroll chillers

York Tempo air-cooled scroll chillers from Johnson Controls provide low energy consumption, no ozone depletion, and qualification for a LEED point. With an integrated part-load value as high as 16.0 EER, the chillers are available from 70 to 150 TR. The chillers use HFC-410A, zero ozone-depletion refrigerants that employ an advanced refrigerant-circuit design that requires 30% to 50% less refrigerant than other models. Designed for outdoor installation on a roof or ground level, the chillers have corrosion-resistant coils that help extend operating life.




BRONZE: Condensing boilers

AERCO’s Modulex line of condensing boilers enhances communications and supports integration with BAS. Each unit in the 300,000 to 1 million Btu/hr line is equipped with a boiler communications module. Approved by CSA for propane installations and breech venting of multiple units, each boiler combines between two and seven independent, 151,500 Btu/hr, preassembled thermal modules housed in a common enclosure. Each module features a dedicated controller with a combustion safeguard, variable-speed fan, modulating gas valve, electronic ignition, modulating burner, flow temperature sensor, thermostat, and heat exchanger. The independent operation of two or more thermal modules increases each boiler’s turndown range—up to 23:1—while also increasing the boiler’s overall reliability. In the event that one module is not working correctly, the remaining modules will continue to operate, thereby delivering built-in redundancy to single boiler installations. In addition to minimizing the redundant capacity needed for any project, the boilers support low NOx, low gas pressure applications, and PVC venting materials. Each unit enclosure offers multiple supply/return piping and venting locations for installation flexibility.




Motors, Starters, Drives


GOLD: Drive controller


The Square D brand S-Flex enclosed drive controller from Schneider Electric provides a solution for commercial pump and fan applications. The drive controller features a simple start-up including preprogrammed parameters, and installation with EZ-M mounting, conduit knockouts on the enclosure, and a dedicated wiring terminal block. The Windows-based PCSoft software allows users to adjust parameters, transfer drive configuration files, monitor driver performance—including historical data—and configure, adjust, and control remotely. The controller is available in two horsepower ranges, 1 to 40 hp at 208 V and 1 to 100 hp at 460 V. The reduced harmonics technology offers an optimized power section and a motor control algorithm that reduces harmonic currents without the use of additional harmonics reduction components such as line reactors or dc chokes. This results in reduced equipment cost, higher equipment efficiency, fewer points of electrical failure, lighter weight, and a smaller enclosure size. The internal Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) feedback function allows for accurate flow rate adjustment based on actual system needs by calculating the error between the setpoint and feedback for a closed loop system. The controller then applies an appropriate feedback reference to adjust motor speed.




SILVER: Motor control center

FlashGard motor control center from Eaton is a racking mechanism that provides bus isolation, stab indications, and lockout features. The MCC minimizes the impact and exposure to higher PPE levels in industrial environments, lowers the probability of the creation of a short circuit phase-to-phase or phase-to-ground, and reduces arc flash energy during maintenance. The unit features an insulated labyrinth vertical bus, arc-free insulated bus system, arc-free bucket design, and horizontal bus bracing of 150 kA (3 cycle).




BRONZE: Adjustable-frequency drive

Ampgard SC 9000 from Eaton is a medium-voltage adjustable-frequency drive for up to 5,000-hp motors. Designed for the use with induction or synchronous motors at 2,400 to 4,160 V, the drive is manufactured in an ISO 9001:200 certified facility. The drive features the smallest footprint per horsepower in the industry, a modular roll-in/roll-out inverter, 24-pulse phase shifting isolation transformers, tertiary winding for internal 480 V auxiliary power supply, and a fully integrated drive that uses efficient variable speed operation.




Power Generation


GOLD: Wireless genset monitoring


The PowerCommand iWatch wireless monitoring system from Cummins Power Generation remotely monitors generator sets via cellular or satellite networks. Users can access operational data via the Internet or receive e-mail or text messages about alarm condition updates. The system uses a Modbus or hardwired interfaces to communicate with a Web server over a satellite or cellular connection. The generators also are available with OPS for use with mobile or rental units. The system monitors standby, rental, or prime power generator sets and improves reliability by providing real-time information and historical data logging. For on-site power systems that provide continuous power, real-time remote monitoring can help improve performance and allows users to react to alarm conditions in a timely manner.




SILVER: Engine generator set

The 3,250 kW engine generator set from Katolight is a 1,800-rpm unit that features a four-cycle 20V4000 G83L diesel, 95.4-L displacement, and common rail injection. The 60-Hz unit is EPA Tier II certified, meets all NFPA 110 requirements, and is UL and CSA approved. The 20-cylinder engine uses an electronic advanced diesel engine control (ADEC) that automatically adapts engine power to working altitude and ambient conditions. The unit’s permanent magnetic generator features a 300% short circuit capacity, 2/3 pitch, and form wound coils. In addition, the maximum power ratings at standby are 4,678 bhp with a fuel consumption rate of 231 gal/hr and 4,035 bhp and 182 gal/hr at prime.




BRONZE: Generator sets

Generac’s Gemini generator solution is redundant, scaleable, flexible, and available within a 3-month lead-time. In addition to providing all the benefits of high-end paralleled systems, Generac accomplishes this at the complexity and price point of single generator solutions. In addition, the generator set also is contained in a sound attenuated packaging with the smallest footprint in the market. Designed for use in hospitals, airports, office buildings, manufacturing plants, and data centers, the generator set is powered by a pair of 16 L Volvo 6-cylinder in-line Tier II diesel engines with 500 kW alternators at 1,800 rpm.






GOLD: Video encoders


VideoJet X family of encoders from Bosch combines high-quality video with intelligence to extend closed caption TV over IP coverage in challenging environments. The VideoJet X10 (single-channel), X20 (2-channel), and X40 (4-channel) video encoders operate in temperatures of 22 to 140 F and relative humidity of as high as 95%. The encoders have a 10 V dc to 30 V dc operating range, suitable for remote surveillance using battery or solar power. The series includes three network ports: two standard 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports plus a 1 Gbps small form factor pluggable optical transceiver slot.




SILVER: Network monitoring

The Liebert vNSA network switch from Emerson Network Power allows multiple Ethernet-ready devices to communicate and function as a team. Equipped with the iCOM display, the network switch permits interconnected cooling units to work together and facilitates lead/lag operation. Enclosed in a lockable metal enclosure, the switches are available in four models that ensure the availability of connected network equipment. The switches support a range of connected units from four to 13, and support twisted-pair RJ45 CAT5 network cables. They feature auto-negotiation, auto-polarity, and auto-crossing, which eliminate the need for crossover cables. The switches integrate cooling reporting and bring critical information to a central location in real time, giving users better control over data center infrastructure. By alerting the user to potential problems before an outage occurs, the system schedules preventive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance, which eliminates downtime and reduces costs. The unit also enhances energy efficiency by improving control between cooling units, allowing only the needed units to operate and the backup or redundant units to remain in standby or ready mode until needed.




BRONZE: Electrical distribution management

Power Xpert Gateway 400 from Eaton manages electrical distribution and control equipment. The designed installations include electrical assemblies, motor control centers, low- and medium-voltage switchgears, or switchboards. The controller consolidates the data available from components such as breakers, meters, motor controllers, and protective relays. The controller integrates power equipment onto an Ethernet network. Whether INCOM, QCPort, or Modbus RTU is used to communicate, all devices are visible for at-a-glance monitoring.




Electrical Distribution


GOLD: Multi-tenant electrical meter


PRC7500 from Eaton accurately monitors and manages tenants in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. The system provides data needed to bill tenants for electric, water, and gas usage, allocates energy costs, and tracks energy systems. The monitor’s communications technology transmits meter data over a building’s existing power lines, which allows for the purchase of bulk rate energy. The unit meters up to 12 (2-pole) tenants or eight (3-pole) tenants per meter and it meets ANSI C12.1 specifications.




SILVER: Pre-wired raceway system

UL-listed pre-wired raceways from Hubbell Wiring Devices-Kellems keep fast-track projects on schedule. The pre-wired raceway solutions save on installation time needed for field installation. The assemblies are delivered to the worksite; labeled by room, floor area, and building; and feature insulation displacement connectors, wire nuts, and wiring devices.




BRONZE: Multi-service floor box

Multi-utility floor box from Wiremold/Legrand provides power and communications in ballrooms and other large function rooms in hotels, convention centers, and casinos. With a load rating of 10,000 lbs, the floor box has a scrub water compliant carpet cutout area that allows it to blend into any carpet style.




Fire Protection


GOLD: Fire control panel


AEGIS from Kidde Fire Systems is a single hazard conventional control panel that provides state-of-alarm based control. The device meets all the requirements of ANSI/UL 864 and is approved for carbon dioxide, wet and dry chemical, sprinkler, deluge, pre-action, foam, and foam-water systems. The panel features seven configurable initiating circuits, three programmable notification appliance circuits, two configurable agent release circuits, three programmable and one trouble Form-C relays. The 120/240 V, 50/60 Hz ac input power supply also features microprocessor protection that allows combination device mixed releases.




SILVER: Fire suppression system

ProInert from Fike is an inert-gas system that prevents destructive turbulence from occurring with a steady flow rate within 60 sec of activation. The constant flow rate of the system reduces hazardous pressure peaks and allows the user to incorporate small-diameter, low-pressure piping from the inert gas container all the way to the nozzle. The smaller venting area reduces installation costs by 60% and provides zero ozone depletion.




BRONZE: Auxiliary/condensate drain valve

NeverTrip auxiliary drain valve assembly from Metraflex is designed to eliminate frozen ball valves and avoid accidental tripping of fire sprinkler systems. A single turn of the handle allows the user to close and then drain condensation without tripping the system. The valve conforms to NPFA 13 requirements and in the drain position, condensate drains from the collection chambers. The chamber assembly has a sight glass that lets maintenance personnel see if condensate reached a level requiring the system to be drained.






GOLD: T8 fluorescent troffer


ES8 high-performance T8 lighting from Lithonia Lighting is designed for environmental sustainability and energy savings. The lighting system saves up to 44% in energy consumption compared with a standard three-lamp 2-in. x 4-in. fixture. The lights have a power density as low as 0.60 W/sq ft and Luminaire Efficacy Rating up to 86. The lighting qualifies for maximum EPAct tax incentives. It demonstrates improved balance between horizontal and vertical light levels over parabolics. The lighting installs within existing parabolic fixture housings without breaking the ceiling plane, allowing the existing wiring system and fixture locations to remain intact. The lighting system’s efficient design meets stringent energy codes with power densities as low as 0.60 W/sq ft.




SILVER: Lighting and shade control

QS System from Lutron Electronics allows seamless integration of electric light and daylight control without the need for additional interfaces. The controller enables keypad control of Sivoia WS shades and lights in a space. Users can create lighting scenes, or control individual lights, by using the rounded, backlit buttons, which can be custom engraved to fit user preference. The controller provides power and communication for occupancy sensors and is available in 30 colors.




BRONZE: Modular high-bay

Metalux Modular F-Bay fluorescent lighting from Cooper Lighting allows for external fixture access during installation and maintenance. The modular series features a plug-in modular motion-sensor kit option to manage energy and prewired sensors. The series complies with NEC requirements for linear ballast disconnect. Design uses include applications with high mounting heights where high lumen output is required, such as department stores, warehouses, gymnasiums, and convention centers. The external power plug allows for installation of cords and motion sensors without removal of the lamps or reflectors. Access to the individual fixture’s power supply allows servicing without turning off all the fixtures.






GOLD: Commercial water heater


Cyclone Xi water heaters from A.O Smith offer conventional power-vent or sealed combustion power direct-vent and low NOx emissions. The water heaters receive up to 96% thermal efficiency and are available from 120,000 Btu up to 500,000 Btu. Each unit contains a submerged combustion chamber with helical heat exchanger coil, powered anodes, Permaglas ultra coat glass lining, mechanical venting versatility, and a high-efficiency pre-mix powered burner. The water heater’s intelligent control system along with its LCD provides detailed status information, allows for precise temperature control, and includes built-in diagnostics.




SILVER: Low-consumption urinal

EcoVantage Pint urinal system from Zurn features a internal flow regulator with 1/8 gpf, an optimized distribution plate, and a water trap that meet all ASME A112.19.2-2003 urinal performance standards. The system saves over 30,000 gal. of water per year, features sensor flush-hands free technology, optimized electronics for 200,000 cycle battery life, heavy-duty commercial grade construction, and is capable of retrofit.




BRONZE: Condensing water heater

The Armor water heater from Lochinvar is a fully condensing commercial gas water heater that delivers long-lasting lifecycle efficiency and is capable of full modulation with 5:1 turndown. Equipped with stainless steel heat exchangers, the product line features five models with inputs of 150,000, 199,900, 285,000, 399,900, and 500,000 Btu/hr. The water heaters also incorporate Smart System controls, built-in freeze protection, PVC venting capability up to 100 ft in and out, flow switch, all bronze circulating pump, and thermal efficiencies up to 98%. The water heater’s two-line, 16-character LCD uses simple instructions for setup and installation. The operating control also includes an interface for optional SMART SYSTEM PC software for advanced setup and diagnostics, as well as a built-in cascading sequencer for installations using up to eight water heaters.




Software: Design, Model, Analysis


GOLD: Electrical analysis software


ETAP Real-Time energy management system from Operation Technology Inc. identifies and corrects system inefficiencies, reduces energy consumption, optimizes energy usage, improves use of the electrical system, increases electrical reliability, and predicts electrical system performance. The system’s algorithms allow energy consumers and providers to automate the operation of a power system, reduce system losses, and reduce peak load consumption. The system calculates the required parameters or changes to optimize the operation of system generation and load.




SILVER: Power systems management

Power Xpert Software from Eaton proactively manages power systems as a strategic, integrated asset. The Web-based solution measures, monitors, connects, and manages power systems by using networking technology standards such as SNMP and Modbus TCP, which enables users to integrate multi-vendor power and facilities infrastructure equipment into a unified system. The system identifies waste energy practices, reduces site monitoring and maintenance expenses, and is compatible with high-accuracy timed devices, and ensures accurate tenant energy costs. The system also provides a multi-user system from any standard Web browser and extensibility to real-time modeling.




BRONZE: Electrical systems modeling

Paladin DesignBase v1.2 from EDSA Micro Corp. is an electrical power systems modeling platform that is optimized for online deployment. While operating in live mode, the designer’s intent does not stop at the development phase, but becomes embedded in live operations. In addition, live operational data are compared to the design model millions of times per second, to ensure operations are on-specification. The software features more than 6,000 commonly used, pre-configured intelligent objects that can be dragged and dropped onto the workplace. Other features include direct injection of PDC data in the model, fuse interpolation, and tripping time display directly onto drawings.




Test Instruments, Meters, Data Loggers


GOLD: Logging Multimeter


The 289 True-rms Industrial Logging Multimeter from Fluke is designed to maximize productivity and minimize downtime. The meter features a logging function with expanded memory that stores up to 10,000 readings for unattended monitoring. It gives users the ability to save multiple logging sessions before PC download is necessary, and the capability to review logged readings in graphical format directly on the meter display. In addition, the meter has a 50,000-count, 3.5-in.,volts and low ohms readings, and more than 200 hours of logging.




SILVER: Web-enabled power meter

Square D PowerLogic PM 800 series of power meters from Schneider Electric monitor electrical installations in industrial, commercial, or critical power environments. The meter’s Ethernet module gives access to the meter’s three-phase energy and power quality data using a standard Web browser, e-mail, or power/energy management software. The meters are designed for power quality compliance metering, disturbance monitoring, cost allocation, and demand management applications. The series has three models that feature tools such as power quality analysis, alarming, data logging, digital and analog inputs and outputs, and multi-port serial or Ethernet communication, which supports Modbus protocol.




BRONZE: Tenant sub-billing


PowerLogic Tenant Metering Commercial Edition from Schneider Electric allocates and recovers actual costs of utilities while adhering to government cost allocation regulations. The meter includes fully automated meter reading functionality, a configuration tool that supports complex rate structures, and comprehensive invoicing for multiple utilities such as water, air, gas, and electricity. The software supports up to 2,000 Modbus meter devices and downloads data stored in the meters, which allows property managers to identify peak consumption periods.




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