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Preview: AHR Expo, Orlando, Feb. 3-5

The AHR Expo draws HVACR industry professionals from around the globe each year. The show, co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, will be held Feb. 3-5, 2020 in Orlando, Florida, and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference. The show provides a forum where manufacturers of all sizes and specialties, whether a major industry brand or innovative start-up, can come together to share ideas and showcase the future of HVACR technology under one roof. Since 1930, the AHR Expo has been a place for OEMs, engineers, contractors, facility operators, architects, educators and other industry professionals to explore the latest trends and applications and to cultivate mutually beneficial business relationships.

Members of the HVACR community reported a continued positive business outlook heading into 2020 in the latest AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal Annual Economic Outlook Survey. The survey was distributed to past and prospective attendees, as well as industry manufacturers, to gauge the market leading into the new year. Additionally, for the first time, the 2020 report includes input on trends, issues and opportunities as outlined by representatives from industry associations regarding their respective areas of expertise.

According to the report, 79% of respondents indicated good or excellent predicted sales prospects going into 2020. While there continue to be shifts in the market, overall the industry remains in a positive economic position. For example, heading in to 2019 the ‘retrofit and renovation’ segment was ranked as having the highest business growth potential. This year, it fell to second place, falling behind maintenance and replacement jobs.

“Manufacturers and our attendee shareholders alike are reporting a strong economy,” said Mark Stevens, manager of AHR Expo. “Our recent report reveals that members of the HVACR community expect the successes of 2019 to hold in the new year. This will be evident on the show floor as our exhibitors continue to introduce new and innovative products that meet the rising demand for smarter and more efficient solutions.”

Each year the AHR Expo kicks off business Q1 with the industry’s first chance to see what’s new in HVACR. Exhibitors use the opportunity to launch products at the show and discuss new opportunities ahead. As a precursor to the show, the survey conducted at the end of Q4 provides the opportunity to gauge what’s expected in the year ahead.

“The HVACR industry remains in a season of change, with innovation and advancement happening in all sectors,” Stevens said. “Considerations such as the global market, changing customer demands and new innovation demands are shaping product designs and the way we approach the built environment. Across the board, whether entirely new concepts or improvements upon existing product lines, our exhibitors are thinking smarter and delivering impressive solutions.”

When asked about 2019 sales, 34% of respondents reported an increase of 10% or more, and 70% indicated sales growth of at least 10%. Additionally, respondents reported expected growth in nearly all areas of the industry, with light commercial, health and residential markets identified as having the highest potential in 2020 at 72%, 67% and 64% respectively. 

As in previous years, reliability holds steady as the most important consideration factor for consumers when making purchasing decisions. Both exhibitors and attendees alike ranked it as the most important, coming in at 81% for exhibitors and slightly more than 98% for attendees. For the second year in a row, both energy efficiency and indoor air quality secured a top spot in relation to consumer importance among exhibitors, at 67% and 64% respectively. Attendees, however, placed initial costs second at right under 98%, and comfort considerations third at 96%.

Areas of concern include rising tariffs and the need to recruit and retain a strong skilled workforce. Additionally, changing DOE regulations and R22 refrigerant phase-out remains high on respondent radars. Areas of opportunity include automation and self-diagnostic controls and continued growth in the IoT/IIoT space. On the horizon for potential impacts to the industry include the forthcoming 2020 Presidential election, growth of big-box retailers and the viability of new technologies in the market.

The Annual Economic Outlook Survey of HVACR manufacturers and attendees is compiled by AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal.

The full report can be downloaded on the AHR Expo website

Each year at the Expo, exhibitors display new solutions serving every facet of HVACR, ranging from highly efficient equipment to sophisticated whole building management systems. Attendees can expect to explore areas of industry growth such as building automation and control technologies, as well as solutions and equipment relating to alternative heating and cooling methods, time-saving tools and instruments, and other innovations that support a more efficient job site.

On pages 4 and 6 in the October 2019 issue, Fuel Oil News published an advance sampling of HVACR products and solutions to be featured on the show floor. Here is a further sampling of products and systems that will be exhibited:

• A ductless heat pump with built-in air and surface purification technology

• A scale reduction system that protects water heaters from limescale build-up that works without the need for power supply, batteries, chemicals or filters

• HEPA filtration technology product integrations that satisfy IAQ requirements including hospital, medical and other sensitive environments

• A probe instrument that allows technicians to test a motor for induced currents caused by VFD to minimize costly downtime and extend the life of system motors

• Blower coil solutions for improved IAQ that allow for fast installation in both horizontal and vertical installations and HDY/VDY features and benefits such as energy efficiency and quieter operation For more information, visit ahrexpo.com and follow @ahrexpo on Twitter.

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