After taking a year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 AHR Expo will return in-person Jan. 31 — Feb. 2 in Las Vegas. ASHRAE’s Winter Conference — a joint in-person and virtual event — will be held during the same time, from Jan. 29 — Feb. 2, at Caesar’s Palace.
“While we do expect less in-person attendance in 2022 than past conferences due to travel restrictions, this does not diminish our ability to reach our global audience, thanks to the integration of a virtual platform,” says Raul Simonetti, HVACR corporate business manager for CAREL Industries, and 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference chair. “This hybrid format will allow our attendees to engage with each other and still take advantage of the robust technical program that ASHRAE conferences are known for. These delivery methods offer us the potential to reach a larger audience than ever before.
“ASHRAE’s mission is, ‘To serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields,’ and all ASHRAE Conferences aim to share knowledge in HVACR fields with respect to the stated mission,” he continues. “‘Sharing’ involves two parties —speakers/experts on one side, and audience on the other, both willing to learn from each other through communication. Virtual communication tools have been able to make the 2021 Winter Conference successfully happen, but in-person communication is by far superior because it allows both exchanging expertise and networking with that sense of human touch which is quite difficult to transfer through communication media. Going back to an in-person event signals a new, promising start to resume our normal personal and work-life notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic.”
If ASHRAE members don’t wish to travel amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they can attend remotely or even watch sessions on-demand.
“As usual, all sessions will be recorded and available on-demand on the Virtual Conferences webpage after the conference,” Simonetti says. “Additionally, we are selecting 12+ hybrid sessions to be live-streamed based on the relevance of content and scheduling that will accommodate attendees living in additional time zones. Remote attendees of hybrid sessions will be able to participate in the Q&A in real-time along with in-person attendees.”
Technical Program addresses building decarbonization-related issues
The 2022 Winter Conference program was created to let experts present HVACR solutions and technologies for building decarbonization, while respecting constraints on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).
“The decarbonization of buildings, including processes and activities related to HVACR, are one of the necessary steps to limit the increment of the average global temperature to 1.5° C by the end of the century,” says Raul Simonetti.
The conference’s technical program is comprised of seven tracks:
Buildings at 360°: Buildings use a large share of a country's final energy, in particular for heating, cooling and various services. Papers and presentations explaining methods, equipment, systems and solutions to satisfy occupants' needs, to guarantee buildings' performances and resilience, and to save resources (energy, water, etc.) will fit this track;
- Energy System Integration: Energy is the omnipresent reality of our daily lives (e.g., electricity for appliances and equipment, heat and cold for industrial processes and commercial purposes). Once used, part of the input the energy is wasted as heat/cold or as exhaust byproducts, thus contributing to the pollution of soil, water and air. The integration of various energy sources/grids with buildings, processes and transportation allows to better exploit the available energy (renewables, in particular) while reducing the said waste through a circular approach to energy usage. Papers on renewables, fossil fuels, grid integration, aggregation, demand-side flexibility, smart devices, IoT, synthetic hydrogen and synthetic fuels, CCUS, electrification would fit this track;
Environmental Health and IEQ in the International Arena: We spend a large part of our days indoors to live, work, practice gym, etc. The indoor environment is essential for our comfort, well-being, health, productivity, but is often treated and regulated differently in various parts of the world due to local conditions, circumstances, history, traditions. Presentations that explain local norms and trends are welcome to increase the knowledge on such an important topic, with an eye also on energy usage;
HVAC for Industrial and Commercial Purposes — Challenges and Opportunities: How to guarantee a set point within the required tolerances in a large industrial facility? How to increase the overall energy efficiency of a commercial facility through HVAC systems? What are the lessons that can be learned from in terms of equipment, installation, commissioning, etc. and that can be transferred to other types of facilities; and vice versa? This is the track where such topics can find suitable space;
Refrigerants and Refrigeration: Refrigeration systems generate and use cold for a range of processes, from food preparation and conservation, to vaccine preservation, to long-term protection of fragile ancient inks of historic documents and others. Differences in technologies and equipment, performances, refrigerants, etc., may hide synergies from which both industrial and commercial systems might benefit, also, but not only, from the points of view of reducing direct and indirect GHG emissions;
HVAC&R Systems and Equipment: HVAC&R systems and equipment are constantly evolving to address the changing requirements of the built environment. Papers and programs in this track focus on the development of new systems and equipment, improvements to existing systems and equipment and the proper application and operation of systems and equipment; and
- Fundamentals and Applications: Fundamentals are the foundation for understanding applications in engineering. Key components of ASHRAE fundamentals include thermodynamics, psychometrics, fluid and mass flow. This track provides opportunities for papers and presentations of varying levels across a large topic base. Concepts, design elements and shared experiences for theoretical and applied concepts of HVAC&R design are included.
“There is for sure an unprecedented effort to cope with a challenging pandemic in order to make the 2022 Winter Conference another successful gathering,” Simonetti notes. “ASHRAE’s staff is really working relentlessly to fix any small or big issues arising here and there, and to grant the maximum flexibility to members, speakers and participants while guarding their health and safety. This is not an easy task because we are trying to convey real certainties to our audience notwithstanding the uncertain circumstances, but it is a great ‘learning ground’ to improve ASHRAE’s professionalism and to make the following 2022 Annual Conference in Toronto an even greater experience.
“We’re most looking forward to connecting with our peers in the format our members are comfortable: Either in-person or virtually,” he adds. “The 2022 Winter Conference topics are very interesting and ASHRAE is focused on delivering a fantastic event to all attendees, but above all, we will be happy to see people walking to seminars, networking, meeting and talking in person.”
Expectations high for AHR Expo
AHR Expo Show Manager Mark Stevens notes that this year’s event, in many ways, is more significant partly because of last year’s cancellation due to the global pandemic.
“The obvious being the longing to get back to business as usual across the board,” Stevens says. “We know that many of our community members have remained on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, but we have been limited in our ability to gather as an industry. Secondly, every single year, the show floor is bursting with new products and tech, so we will land in Vegas with two years of everything new. It will be exciting to see how much innovation has happened since we last met. What’s more, based on the shift we’ve seen with attention on the industry in the mainstream, it will be interesting to have the opportunity to view the industry with this in mind. It's great to finally invite everyone into the industry as we know it and to see just how thriving and vital it is to everyday life.”
According to Stevens, show management is not anticipating any less attendance than previous years, despite the global pandemic.
“We are fairly close to being on track with pre-pandemic years, which is a great indicator of the industry’s readiness,” he says. “Having said that, we know there are some who still feel uncomfortable given there remains some uncertainty with this pandemic. Overall, there seems to be much enthusiasm in the community to get back to business. We see this in our hotel reservations and our exhibitor registrations, as well as through communication with professionals and chatter we see on our social channels. So many events were canceled in the last year, and everyone appears ready to gather again. We anticipate the upcoming show will serve as a bridge for the last two years and set the pace for future shows and for the industry. Vegas, and specifically the Las Vegas Convention Center, have already hosted several successful events so far this year as well.”
For manufacturers like Franklin Electric, the AHR Expo presents a great opportunity to get in front of contractors and specifying engineers and showcase their latest products and technologies.
“Attending the AHR Expo is very important for Franklin Electric and Little Giant,” says Brian Blackburn, senior business unit manager, commercial HVAC US/Canada, industrial controls and engineered systems, Franklin Electric. “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our breadth of product, grow our customer base, and interact with our existing customers. It’s also a good time to scope out the competition and generally note how the industry is performing.
“We’re obviously ready to get back to doing trade shows,” he adds. “It’ll be interesting to see how participation and attendance pan out this year after canceling last year, but every year holds the same significance to us. If our customers are there, we’re there.”
This AHR Expo is especially important for Franklin Electric, as the company was named a 2022 Innovation Award winner in the plumbing category with its Inline SpecPAK multi-pump pressure boosting system. Lochinvar and Towle Whitney were finalists in the category.
“We’re so proud of this award,” Blackburn says. “We know the plumbing category is full of really quality competitors, so our win means a lot to us. The competition was stiff!
“The Franklin brand, Little Giant, went through a brand refresh earlier this year, so we’re looking forward to seeing the new branding in a show environment,” he continues. “The Franklin booth will contain a Little Giant section featuring our HVAC and wastewater pumps as well as featuring representation from the industrial drives division of the company since it’s a major player in the HVAC space. I’m most looking forward to seeing our customers in real life again! While we’ve obviously adjusted to video meetings, in-person is still so valuable, and it’ll be nice to get back to the hospitality aspect. It’s a great time when everyone’s in the same city so we can spend quality time with all our customers.”
For some companies like Rinnai America Corp., the AHR Expo is one of the largest shows to participate in.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to engage our customers and introduce new products,” says David Federico, senior director of marketing, Rinnai America. “I believe the show is more significant this year for a few reasons. First, our customers and business partners are eager to get out and start interacting in person. Second, since COVID-19, Rinnai has introduced several new products in new and existing categories that we will be showcasing at the show. We will be showing new, improved products in the tankless water heating category, as well as a new line of Infrared Heaters, which is a new category for us.”
Federico also says he is most looking forward to the face-to-face interaction with Rinnai customers.
For more information on the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference, visit https://www.ashrae.org/conferences/2022-winter-conference-las-vegas. For more information about the 2022 AHR Expo, to register or view the schedule, visit www.ahrexpo.com.