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lennox innovation

Inside the Innovation of Lennox

Kyle Golden

Lennox has always placed a premium on innovation.  You'll see it in our tagline, "Innovation Never Felt So Good."  But it goes deeper than that.  Much deeper.

According to Senior Product Manager Kyle Golden, "Innovation is in our DNA.  It's what drives us. It's a source of pride, and a way of life."  As the product manager that helped develop the iComfort® S30 Smart Thermostat, Kyle is well acquainted with innovation.

The iComfort® S30, a stunning display of innovation.

The iComfort S30 Smart Thermostat introduced a whole new approach to energy savings, comfort and peace of mind when it debuted in 2015.  This was particularly evident in features such as Smart Away Mode, Feels Like Temperature and Allergen Defender. 

Smart Away Mode brings Lennox® innovation to energy savings by doing what regular programmable thermostats cannot.  Rather than simply following a set schedule, Smart Away lets the iComfort S30 adapt to your life, perfectly.  Smart Away works with the GPS in your family's smartphones to detect when the house is empty.  When it's sure that nobody is home, it sets the temperature back to save energy.  Then, when the iComfort S30 detects that someone is on the way home, it returns the system to normal operation so everyone always comes home to comfortable air.

Feels Like brings Lennox innovation to comfort by optimizing and automating all the factors that affect how air feels.  With the iComfort S30, you simply set a single temperature that you want.  The iComfort S30 will then take into account all the factors that affect comfort, including heating, cooling and humidity, and create your ideal environment.  It's very similar to the way the "feels like" temperature on a weather report works.

Allergen Defender brings Lennox innovation to cleaner air by monitoring the air quality and pollen levels in your zip code.  When high levels of pollutants or allergens are reported, the iComfort S30 automatically increases fan speed to create more clean air per hour in your home.

Active Monitoring brings innovation to reliability.  With this feature, the iComfort S30 carefully watches every aspect of the entire heating and cooling system's operation.  If it detects an issue, or senses it's time for regular maintenance or a filter change, it can alert you and your dealer with an email.

Sourcing ideas from every employee

The iComfort S30 is the most recent example of our innovation, but it's just a small part of the picture.

"Innovation is everywhere in our company," Kyle said.  "Everyone has a whiteboard in their office to capture and develop ideas.  Our engineering areas are all designed with prominent collaboration areas that facilitate the sharing and improving of new concepts and improvements to existing products.  Everyone here, from the newest employee to the most senior vice president, believes that innovation is the best way forward."

We go to great lengths to make sure every employee feels empowered to contribute to this spirit of innovation.  For example, anyone at Lennox can submit an idea for a new product or technology.  And if the idea goes into development, the employee's name is put on the patent.

Researching ideas, solving problems

Perhaps the most prolific source of innovative ideas in our culture is the Lennox Advanced Research Lab.  The lab and its staff focus on the improvement of existing products, and also on ways to solve customer wants and needs using new and emerging technology. 

Through extensive conversations with Lennox Dealers and homeowners, lab researchers determine what's most important to the people who will use and install Lennox products.

Using the information gathered from these interviews, the Lennox Advanced Research Lab staff sets about finding the newest and smartest way to provide Lennox customers and dealers with what they want. 

Engineering the Future

Some of the lab's solutions come from evolutions of existing products, while others break entirely new ground.  But either way, once an idea takes shape, the next step is to prove it works.  This is accomplished by handing new concepts off to a team of Lennox engineers who are experts at turning concepts into reality.  Starting with prototypes, these engineers gradually improve and perfect the idea until it's ready for testing. 

Passing the Test

Testing is a big part of the development of a new Lennox product, because no matter how smart an idea may be, it has to be proven reliable and effective before it gets the Lennox name. Many new products are tested in the lab, but the real proof comes during product trials in the real world.

This testing can last anywhere from two months to over a year.  For example, when the iComfort S30 entered field trials, it spent a year being put through its paces in a home environment to make sure it performed to the high standards Lennox set for it.

Testing a product's functionality is only one part of the process, however.  Reliability is also a hallmark of the Lennox brand, which is why every new product is tested for durability.  For example, every product that goes to market is first put through violent shake tests to see how it will hold up during shipping, or riding around in the back of a Lennox Dealer's van.

Coming Up Next

Lennox innovation never sleeps.  When asked about what to expect in the future, Kyle mentioned several areas of current focus. 

"In the short term, new software updates for the iComfort S30 will allow homeowners to track their system run time and energy use day to day, month to month and year to year.  This will allow them to see when they use the most energy, so they can make changes to conserve."

As for the long-term future, energy use is also part of that equation. 

"We're always coming up with new ways to squeeze more comfort out of each energy dollar.  That's what our customers want," Kyle said.  "That's what our dealers want to offer.  And as energy costs rise, it's only going to become more important."

 "Variable capacity is a big focus right now," he continued. "Variable-capacity equipment is very energy efficient.  It also has the added advantages of being quieter and more precise, which makes it a smart choice for any home.." 

To learn more about innovative solutions to temperature, humidity, air quality and energy use, contact your local Lennox Dealer using the Lennox Dealer Locator.

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