Dubbed the largest HVACR event of the year, the 2023 AHR Expo returns to Atlanta Feb. 6-8, while the co-located 2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference will take place Feb. 4-8 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center and Building A of the Georgia World Congress Center.

After a decrease in attendance during last year’s event compared to the previous in-person show in 2020, AHR management is gearing up for a good turnout in Atlanta.

“Last year, we, along with everyone else in the industry, were dealing with so much we weren't sure what the year would look like, but we were determined to host the show and provide the opportunity to regather as a full industry,” said AHR Expo Show Manager Mark Stevens. “We all felt the loss of missing the prior year and we [the show] know the unmatched value in having the exhibitor floor, networking opportunities and in-person touchpoints. We were so energized by the turnout in Vegas. Of course, there were a lot of last-minute shifts beyond anyone's control — testing disruptions for those required by their travel arrangements, travel delays with a disrupted airline industry, internal company schedule changes and of course our business practices in general still recalibrating. But everyone we talked with following the show walked away with a quality experience — meaning tangible benefits in business relationships, industry knowledge, etc. — that set the tone for a segue back into a 'before' mode. Based on projections and conversations at this point, we're gearing up for a good turnout of professionals who are there to conduct business. We're excited to open the doors in Atlanta.”

Stevens also notes that Atlanta has sold out of exhibitor space for the 2023 show, with just under 1,800 exhibitors, which is on par with AHR Expo’s pre-Vegas events.

good turnout of attendees

AHR Expo show management is gearing up for a good turnout of attendees at the 2023 show in Atlanta.

sold out of exhibitor space for the 2023 showAtlanta has sold out of exhibitor space for the 2023 show, with just under 1,800 exhibitors, which is on par with AHR Expo’s pre-Vegas events. 

Educational opportunities in Atlanta

This year’s AHR Expo program will feature more than 200 free seminars, including a robust panel series, new product and technology presentations, professional certifications and continuing education courses. Additionally, in response to the industry’s call for more training via shared knowledge and opportunities for open discussion, the program has been extended to include Wednesday sessions.

“The Education Program has grown tremendously in recent years,” Stevens says. “The HVACR industry is changing and growing quickly and in ways that are new to us all. We’re talking about training a new workforce to replenish a wave of retirement while simultaneously taking on initiatives relating to environmental efficiency, indoor air quality, automation, cybersecurity, supply chain disruptions, new business practices, etc. — there is no shortage of necessary discussions.”

This year’s panel series will include discussions on the 2023 State of the Industry — back by popular demand — as well as Decarbonization, Communication across the supply chain: Mapping the channel and flow of information, Basics of Refrigerant Changeover and HVAC & Social Media:

“HVACR is changing and the communication flow is changing with it,” says Kimberly Pires, AHR Expo Education Program Coordinator. “In working with our associations to put forth a program that is both educational and practical for every job role, we have discovered that while the disciplines may be different, the overarching opportunities and issues ahead for the industry are the same. Our sessions aim to provide diverse perspectives from all the voices that work and serve HVACR. This kind of insight supports cooperation within the community and progress in an individual’s professional growth, proving itself immensely valuable for the advancement of the industry as a whole.”

“As far as programming goes, we're continuing to grow our Podcast Pavilions to serve industry demand for podcaster and publication news and information; building out a panel series to tackle some of the 'hottest' topics being tossed around in the industry and to answer some of the lingering questions that aren't necessarily being formally addressed anywhere else; and expanding our education programming to provide more time for niche discussions,” Stevens adds. “For the first time in some years, we'll have education programming happening on Wednesday. And while this allows for more sessions overall, it also allows for more time spent on the show floor each day since sessions are spread over all three days.”

MEP engineers will have additional educational opportunities during ASHRAE’s Winter Conference.

“The conference will focus on addressing the critical challenges we all face in rapidly evolving industry and policy landscapes. It will feature papers and programs that are pertinent to the future of buildings and how they interact with people and the environment,” says Christine Reinders-Caron, chair of the committee for the conference. “Attendees will learn about the latest developments in building design and construction, from virtual design and simulation, to decarbonization and grid resilience.”

ASHRAE’s education line-up includes eight conference tracks, over 100 technical sessions, tours, social experiences and industry-specific committee meetings. The conference will offer a wide range of industry specific technical tracks that explore emerging approaches to building design, construction, operation, and decarbonization.

There will be a brand new track at the conference: “Pathways to Zero Energy Emissions and Decarbonization,” highlighting methods being developed to reduce carbon impact on the global environment and the actions that ASHRAE and its members are taking to advance these efforts. Other technical program tracks include: Fundamentals and Applications; HVACR Systems and Equipment; Refrigeration and Refrigerants; Grid Resilience and Thermal Storage; Pathways to Zero Energy Emissions and Decarbonization; Multifamily and Residential Buildings; Operations and Maintenance; and Building Simulation and Virtual Design in Construction. 

exhibitors at the AHR ExpoFor exhibitors, the AHR Expo presents a golden opportunity to network face-to-face with contractors, engineers, distribturos and reps.


Networking is key

AHR Expo presents a prime opportunity for exhibiting manufacturers to get their new products and services in front of specifying engineers, contractors and manufacturers reps. Networking face-to-face with clients is a big part of what makes this show special.

“The AHR Expo remains a top show for us, with so many opportunities to meet directly with our customers and product users,” says Wayne Neault, senior business unit director,residential and specialty solutions, Franklin Electric. “While it’s always a learning experience to visit our customers on-site, the show environment is a little more relaxed, and you can have more in-depth conversations that you can in the normal course of business. It’s really a great opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships with our customers, some of whom we haven’t seen in person since 2020. It boosts our brand visibility as well.”

Neault adds that he’s most looking forward to these types of conversations with customers. “When our customers get to see and experience a variety of our products all at once, the feedback is invaluable. It helps our team find areas for improvement and ways we can boost what we are already doing well. Outside of our booth, I enjoy walking the floor and seeing what’s trending. Our industry is constantly innovating, and it’s exciting to see what others are up to.”

Jared Mackrory, director of marketing and customer training, Viega, notes that AHR is both an important show for Viega and for the industry.

“It’s almost always the first place we debut new products,” he says. “It’s where we introduce our next generation of Press Masters. It really gives us an opportunity to support our new and existing customers. The experiences we have in the booth, the seminars and podcasts, all help continue our commitment to educating and teaching professionals about press technology and how it can help them.”

Mackrory says he is most excited to showcase Viega’s new MegaPress and ProPress valves, and the new ProPress 316 ECO Tubing. “But we’re also really looking forward to participating on an engineering panel presenting to undergraduates and show floor tour with some college and high school students. For Viega, the next generation of the workforce is just as important as the customers and professionals we currently serve. We get to show these students what opportunities are going to be available in the trade and ultimately, when they enter the workforce, they’ll have a solid foundation of skills with their involvement in organizations like ASHRAE and through programs like Viega’s VTEN.”

Mike Lahti, vice president of sales, marketing and business development at Lochinvar, says the manufacturer has always prioritized attending the AHR Expo.

“Having the opportunity to engage with engineers, distributor partners, contractors and reps is priceless, and we look forward to it every year,” Lahti says. “Creating an engaging booth space that resonates with attendees is the ultimate event planner’s challenge, but one we take to heart. This year, we hope to connect with old and new friends alike.

“Vegas was a great experience coming out of the pandemic, but many people were still unsure of what to expect,” he continues. “This year should prove to be more relaxed. We’ve been busy in our labs and can’t wait to show folks what we’ve been developing. We’re taking some new directions in 2023 to add even more space and water heating solutions to our already broad and deep product offering — you’ll have to stop by the Lochinvar booth to get all the exciting details.”

manufacturers plan new product launchesMany manufacturers plan new product launches to coincide with the AHR Expo.


Trends to watch for at the expo

The plumbing and HVACR industries are rapidly changing with upcoming regulations, IRA tax credits and an increased focus on energy efficiency, decarbonization and electrification and IAQ. The AHR Expo offers trade pros the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and new products.

“The trends driving today’s pumps are really focused on quality of operation for both the user and the installer,” Neault says. “People want smaller pumps that operate more quietly. They also want these pumps to be easier to install — without a complicated setup. At the same time, they’re looking for more innovative monitoring options, including connectivity and remote monitoring.

“At Franklin Electric, we’re mindful that moving water takes tremendous power, so we need to continue to drive innovation beyond the pump,” he adds. “The use of permanent magnet motor technology and turnkey systems, including variable frequency drives (VFDs), are two examples of how we’re delivering more benefits to our customers. Many of these innovations rely on a concept known as power density — drawing more power from a smaller footprint. Increasing power density allows owners and operators to benefit from more streamlined units that are easier to ship and install — without sacrificing performance or reliability.”

Mackrory notes that everyone is still concerned about the ongoing labor shortage and supply chain challenges that have been a large part of the industry the past few years. “We do expect that to continue somewhat, and what Viega is really focusing on is how can we best support the trade and the industry. We’re putting forth a lot of energy into our training centers and partnerships so that we can help with the number of qualified and trained professionals to fill those open roles. And we’re also ensuring that we have enough product to provide our contractors for their projects. What we really appreciate about AHR is the opportunity to display all that Viega is doing to a wider audience – from our new product lines to our workforce efforts in training and development for the trades.”

Lahti points to current and proposed legislation which has influenced a lot of industry decisions lately.

“Luckily, Lochinvar’s existing emphasis on high efficiencies as well as our product development pipeline, have set us at an advantage,” he explains. “The CREST with Hellcat Combustion Technology is a great example. Its O2 sensor is exclusively designed for a condensing boiler and is placed inside the combustion chamber, allowing the boiler to achieve target O2 setpoints easily. The feedforward trim and Realtime O2 Feedback ensure the boiler tracks optimal combustion and maintains that target regardless of any sudden weather shifts. This type of extensive technical development is characteristic of Lochinvar’s legacy as an innovator in the industry. With the majority of our product line achieving 95% and higher efficiencies and low carbon emissions, we’re positioned well to meet and exceed the mandates we’re seeing all across the country.

“Additionally, to meet the needs of a changing industry, Lochinvar has invested in the development of technology that uses alternative energy sources, including electric appliances and heat pump technology. No matter what your individual requirements are — be it space constraints, efficiency requirements, clean energy or large commercial space or water heating, — Lochinvar has you covered.”

Whether it be attending education sessions, panels or learning about new products and technologies on the show floor, attendees will have plenty of opportunities to learn more about the latest industry trends and discuss new technologies.

“It is imperative that we continue to hunger for and seek information about our market, our changing world and our technological advances,” said Farooq Mehboob, president of ASHRAE. “Embracing change will infuse a new dynamism in our industry at all levels, bringing new knowledge, technology and tools in a timely fashion, helping us to successfully navigate the rapidly changing world.”

For more information on the ASHRAE Winter Conference, visit www.ashrae.org/conferences/2023-winter-conference-atlanta. For more information on the AHR Expo, visit www.ahrexpo.com.