Held at McCormick Place Sept 28-30, the fourth ISH North America trade show once again brought together all facets of the plumbing, building, energy and air-conditioning industries-engineers, specifiers, contractors, government officials and wholesalers.

Official figures have not yet been released, but attendance was expected to surpass that of the 2004 event, which drew 13,456 total registered attendees from 40 countries. This year's show featured more than 500 exhibitors from 17 countries.

ISH NA was held in conjunction with the annual conventions of several associations, including the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), the American Supply Association, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association and the Radiant Panel Association (RPA).

IAPMO Highlights

This year marked IAPMO's 80th anniversary and 77th Annual Education and Business Conference. It also marked the first time that IAPMO held its annual convention in conjunction with ISH North America. According to show organizer Messe Frankfurt, Inc., this partnership will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The education and business conference was held Sept. 24-28 at the Doubletree Hotel, Oakbrook, IL, and included workshops and education seminars. Roger Courtney presented seminars on both the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code. Dr. Stuart Asay, P.E., gave an education session on "backflow Basics & Intricacies."

From the Show Floor

ISH North America featured a large show floor, with more than 500 exhibitors. The show's producer, Messe Frankfurt, and the BDH (a German energy and environmental technology association) offered a Renewable Energies Feature Area for attendees to explore advanced energy alternatives. Many of the exhibitors on the show floor reflected this movement toward incorporating renewable energies into their products. Offerings such as solar options, wood/pellet stoves, recycled materials, or a "green" angle, etc., could be found at almost every booth.

This pavilion showcased the industry's responsibility for the environment, and its efficient use of fossil fuels. Some of the other focal points of this area were solar, thermal, wood stoves, heat pumps, ventilation systems with heat recovery, and hydrogen fuel cells.

UA Day. The second day of the show, Sept. 29, was United Association (UA) Day, featuring a speech by UA General President William Hite, and many of the UA's training trailers were on the show floor. Hite delivered his speech to a packed, standing-room-only room. Also, local UA apprentices were in the audience. Hite outlined a number of ways the UA will strengthen the construction union labor market throughout the country.

"Increased market share - that's what it's all about,"

Presenter Gary Hayden, far right, listens to RPA members' questions on alternative energies.
RPA Conference. At RPA's conference on Sept. 30, Gary Hayden (Premier Comfort Systems, Norfolk, VA) gave attendees a heads-up on how to think about and design their radiant and hydronic systems. Specifically, he said, "The use of low-temperature hydronic systems opens the door to sustainable energy sources." And he let them know he was a big fan of hybrid, augmented high-temp systems and integrating design ideas. "The big introduction of high-efficiency, condensing boilers is really a turning point for all of us."

In another RPA seminar, Michael O'Rourke (Radiant Advantage) impressed his listeners with hydronic radiant ceilings, particularly the low mass cooling projects. This editor recalls a time not so long ago that any talk of radiant cooling was met with disbelief and almost hostility. But here were some high-profile successful commercial designs, showing that as the systems evolve and controls catch up to applications, anything's possible. O'Rourke addressed the LEED impacts of radiant cooling, and also some findings of the Department of Energy.

RPA System Showcase Winners. At its Annual System Showcase Awards Banquet on Sept. 30, the RPA honored the top projects from this year's member competition. Submissions were scored on Presentation, Technical Merit and Impression by the following impartial, industry-knowledgeable judges: John Abularrage, Advanced Radiant Design Inc.; John Siegenthaler, Appropriate Designs (and writer for PM Engineer); Tom Simensen, Radiant Specialties Inc.; and David Yates, F.W. Behler Inc.

The eight categories include both hydronic and electric designs, and the winners (listed below) were awarded impressive gold-star trophies and plaques.

Cooling Talbott Solar Radiant Homes, Bonk Residence

Commercial Climate Control Co. of Glenwood Spring, Cheryl & Sam Wyly Animal Shelter

Innovation Synergy Inc., RRR

Retrofit Radiant Heat Products, Cobblestone Winery

Simplicity Arndt & Son Plumbing And Heating LLC, Nichols Addition

Snow/Ice Melting Thornton Plumbing & Heating, Stirlingwood

1-5 Radiant Zones In Hot Water Heat & Power Inc., Sawrey Residence

6-15 Radiant Zones D&D Plumbing Inc., Duffy Residence

Judges Choice Thornton Plumbing & Heating, Stirlingwood

The next ISH North American show is scheduled to held Oct. 2-4 in Atlanta, GA.

Information for this article was compiled by Jim Camillo, Katie Rotella, Kelly Faloon and Steve Smith.