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AHR Expo - 2019

Most HVACR Firms Confident in 2019 Growth

Jan. 8, 2019
As attendees flock to Atlanta, sense of optimism still pervades.

Even as many industry forecasts are predicting a potential slowdown in 2019, HVACR manufacturers continue to see robust growth on the horizon. According to the latest AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal Annual Economic Outlook Survey, released in November, 87% of respondents say they anticipate positive business prospects in the new fiscal year. 

The report indicates that the HVACR market is primed for continued business growth. Reports for 2018 are at an all-time high, with 44% of respondents reporting a significant sales increase of more than 10%, year-on-year. This is up from an already impressive 2017 record of 35% logged a year ago.

“This is considerable data confirming the continued growth of our industry, even amongst market shifts and issues facing professionals,” said Clay Stevens, longtime manager of AHR Expo, based in Westport CT. “It is further indication that the changing market has potential to grow in unexpected ways, and industry professionals need to stay abreast of the latest technologies and equipment available to them.”

Indeed, that is the purpose of the AHR Expo, which this month (Jan. 14-16) comes to the Georgia World Congress in Atlanta. Co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, the annual event is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference. The confluence of conferences affords some 70,000 attendees with the industry’s best opportunity to keep pace with the rapid pace of change and innovation, says Stevens. The survey supports this notion, revealing that 64% of exhibitors (up from last year’s 59%) say they plan to debut new products at the 2019 Show.

Market Segment Growth Expected in All Sectors

AHR/ASHRAE respondents said they expect to see steady growth next year across most market segments: residential; light commercial; heavy commercial; schools; non-school institutional buildings; office buildings; lodging; manufacturing/industrial; data/telecom centers; hospitals/healthcare; restaurants/hospitality; and laboratories/cleanrooms. Of these, lodging is predicted to see the fastest growth (64%), with projections up 10% from last year. Overall, sector growth predictions are up over last year as well, with positive outlooks across all markets, nearly two thirds of which foresee “excellent or good” growth.

For the third year, the report shows a shift in potential market drivers for business, with retrofit and renovations taking the lead for 2019 at 36%—up nearly 10% from last year. Previous years saw prospects for new construction, which was the highest rated in 2018; and maintenance and replacement in 2017.

As expected, reliability remains the most important customer requirement when making buying decisions. Responses indicate a steady rise in energy efficiency and indoor air quality as close second top-rated factors for purchase decision-making. Energy efficiency saw the most growth, up 6% to more than 96% of respondents ranking it “important to very important” in their considerations.

This also aligns with the responses for “most important trend or issue” with potential impact for businesses in 2019—leading the charge is the Internet of Things (IoT) and the rise of connected buildings as they relate to energy efficiency and smart control.

Issues of concern were reported as rising tariffs and the need to hire more professionals across the HVAC industry.


Last fall, AHR Expo announced the winners of its 2019 Innovation Awards competition. Each year, candidates in 10 different categories are recognized as the HVACR industry’s most innovative products, systems and technologies. Winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated each award entry based on its innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact.

Winners from each award category will be formally recognized at a ceremony in Atlanta on Jan. 15 at 1:00 PM EST. At that time, AHR Expo will also announce this year’s Product of the Year Award winner.

Winners and finalists selected within the categories of building automation, cooling, green building, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, tools and instruments, and ventilation. Here are just some of the winners:

Building Automation

Innovation: OptiFlex™ Virtual Integrator

(Automated Logic Corp.)

A software-based integration platform for data monitoring across diverse building systems, OptiFlex provides scalable integration solutions ideal for large integration projects such as data centers, hospitals and college campuses. 

Cooling Innovation:

YORK Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller

(Johnson Controls)

A fully optimized chiller built with next-generation, low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant to increase energy efficiency.

Green Building Innovation:

HVAC Load Reduction Module 1000E-M

(EnVerid Systems)

HVAC Load Reduction® (HLR) module 1000E-M, an indoor air scrubber module designed to lower energy wastage from HVAC systems, reduces the amount of outside air needed for ventilation by 60-80 percent.

Heating Innovation:

GenTeq Ensite Motor


Genteq® Ensite® motor, an electronically commutated motor specifically designed for furnace application, enables customers to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fan Energy Rating (FER) regulatory requirements taking effect in July of 2019.

Plumbing Innovation:

Anvilpresss Copper, Copper Press Fittings & Coupling Systems

(Anvil International)

AnvilPress™ Copper, Copper Press Fittings and Coupling Systems are designed with patented Visual Indicator technology that provides 200 percent more sealing surface than typical fittings for leak prevention.

Refrigeration Innovation:

Copeland Scroll Fractional Horsepower, Low-Temp Compressors


Copeland Scroll™ fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressors use liquid injection technology and cooling discharge temperatures to reduce compressor stress and meet federal regulatory requirements.

For complete information, visit

About the Author

Rob McManamy | Editor in Chief

An industry reporter and editor since 1987, McManamy joined HPAC Engineering in September 2017, after three years with, a Chicago-based media startup focused on tech innovation in the built environment. He has been covering design and construction issues for more than 30 years, having started at Engineering News-Record (ENR) in New York, before becoming its Midwest Bureau Chief in 1990. In 1998, McManamy was named Editor-in-Chief of Design-Build magazine, where he served for four years. He subsequently worked as an editor and freelance writer for Building Design + Construction and Public Works magazines.

A native of Bronx, NY, he is a graduate of both the University of Virginia, and The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Contact him at [email protected].