From The NEWS

The 2018 Dealer Design Awards are a platform to present the latest and greatest products the HVAC industry has to offer. For the past 15 years, The NEWS has honored HVAC design excellence. The contest was established to honor exemplary manufacturing, design, and implementation. It has consistently delivered on that promise, displaying some of the most innovative and conveniently installed, maintained, and serviced products ever created.

A total of 98 product applications were filed this year, and our panel of contractor judges had a tough task narrowing the field down to gold, silver, and bronze winners across 13 categories.

In a highly competitive race, the Elite® Series Large Split Systems from Lennox Industries found a way to pull away from the field (which included some internal competition we will get to for the silver honors) and earn the gold award in the HVAC Commercial Equipment category of this year’s Dealer Design Award contest.

What helped propel the product to the forefront was its wide array of features and the detailed research methods that went into its design.

“Over the last three years, we have conducted significant research with contractors, engineers, and national accounts customers to understand the market opportunities and to identify features which would delight these customers,” said David Mackey, product manager, Lennox Industries. “Over the past two years, our engineers have worked to develop and test the new product line to ensure new models meet the quality and performance standards our customers have come to expect.”

Mackey further broke this down into two key areas:

  • Feedback from trade shows. “Lennox participates in numerous trade show events where we get the opportunity to meet with contractors,” he said. “We learn what can be done to improve our existing product designs and develop products that address specific needs as they emerge in the market. The feedback from these shows is documented and shared with the design teams.
  • Daily customer interaction. “Our service and sales teams listen intently to customer feedback to better understand the challenges contractors face. These unique issues are shared with the product marketing and service and design teams to improve our designs and incorporate ideas shared from the field.”

After three years of research, the systems hit the market on Jan. 1. The Elite Series Large Split Systems line (6-20 tons) provides efficient heating and cooling for a variety of spaces, and per Lennox, these intelligently engineered systems are suited for almost any application. The lineup consists of matchups including 6- to 20-ton AC and 7.5- to 10-ton HP while offering efficiencies of up to 16 IEER and 12 EER. All air handlers come equipped with MSAV® (Multi-Stage Air Volume) as standard, and all a/c condensers and heat pumps come with two stages of cooling.

Looking ahead, Lennox expects the Elite Series to continue to grow in popularity — not only with contractors, but with end users as well.

“The innovative technology applied in this new family of products enables compliance with the Department of Energy’s 2018 efficiency standards as well as ASHRAE 90.1 2013, California Title 24, and IECC 2015,” said Mackey.

Lennox will continue development of additional AC/HP – AHU matchups (including twinned matchups and pairing with residential equipment) to ensure that its customers have access to equipment that meets any application need.

Mackey added that as Lennox positions the Elite Series in future development, the company will continue to conduct market research with contractors, technicians, and installers in order to understand what will make servicing these systems easier and more efficient.

The B generation models of the Landmark® lineup from Lennox feature higher efficiencies with the same footprint as its previous generation models, helping the product line to the silver award.

“The new-generation products give customers the flexibility to choose from traditional gas/electric or electric/electric models in just the right size for any application,” said Amani Maurice, product manager, Lennox Industries. “High-efficiency performance offers the possibility for businesses to take advantage of government incentives and utility rebates in the U.S. and Canada. The lineup starts with a 2-ton unit and goes all the way up to 25 tons, offering efficiencies of up to 13 EER, 14.8 IEER and 16.5 SEER. Units qualify for up to CEE [Consortium for Emery Efficiency] Tier 2 utility rebates and energy incentives.”

In regards to the product’s development, Maurice said that in the last five years, the Lennox team has heard from numerous contractors and engineers about the need for an increase in energy efficiency and energy-saving features.

“Participating in multiple industry trade shows, we interacted directly with customers and listened to their challenges and concerns,” he said. “Key themes emerged centered around improved performance, ease of installation, and serviceability. We documented all feedback and shared it with our product, engineering, and service teams, so their ideas could be incorporated and used to improve our designs.

“This research helped us identify and develop key product features that not only improved product performance, but it also guided us to update our product design so that it is easy to install and service.”