The Best of the Best

by Valerie Stakes, managing editor

The Quality Home Comfort Awards (QHCA) provide an opportunity for contractors to display excellence in design and installation quality to the rest of the industry. But far more important, the winning contractors have been able to convey to homeowners the benefits of first-class, integrated, total comfort systems.

As judges were once again faced with the difficult task of choosing only five winners, it became clear what distinguished this year’s award-winning projects from the other entries: creative design, installation expertise, and a willingness to go the extra mile to satisfy the needs of the customer, on time and on budget.

Detailed presentations also helped, as photographs, blueprints, load calculations, and sometimes, even a flair for the written word brought the proposals to life for our panel of judges. Unfortunately, only a few can win in the final judging process.

What’s the best system? It always depends on what’s best for the homeowner, a task that changes with each customer. However, by combining their knowledge with today’s technology, HVAC contractors can provide the level of comfort required to meet the demanding lifestyles of today’s homeowners.

The Judging process

This year’s entries ranged from oil heat to geothermal, from forced air to radiant, from boilers to hybrid, multi-load systems. The submitted entries were reviewed and scored by a panel that included Contracting Business’ editors and experts from the HVAC contracting industry. The judges carefully reviewed each project, using a checklist that encompassed design, system performance, indoor air quality improvement, unusual problems solved, and testing and balancing.

Five first place winners, five runners-up, and seven honorable mentions were chosen to represent this year’s elite contractors. In addition, an outstanding project award is being given to recognize a contractor who reengineered rather than replaced a customer’s system, therefore doubling its performance (this story will be featured in an upcoming issue of Contracting Business).

Besides receiving national recognition through this publication, the winners and runners-up will be recognized in Dallas at HVAC Comfortech 2003, the national residential and light commercial HVAC seminar and comfort technology showcase (see page 103 for more information). In addition, the five first place winners will receive free registration to the entire HVAC Comfortech 2003 program, a $500 cash prize, and the opportunity to win a $2,500 travel voucher.

The QHCA Mission

The QHCA contest was created to recognize high-quality design and installation of comfort systems in both newly built and renovated homes. The most important mission of this effort is to stress to HVAC contractors, builders, and the public the importance and value of the HVAC system as a key component of a happy home.

Besides being read by the largest circulation of HVACR
contractors, distributors, and manufacturers, this special section highlighting the winning homes is also delivered to 5,000 leading North American builders.

It’s not too early to start thinking about entering next year’s contest. If you’ve recently completed or are in the process of completing an outstanding project, we encourage you to enter next year’s contest (see page 92 for the 2004 QHCA contest guidelines).

Winning isn’t the only thing (but, it’s nice)

Contracting Business salutes all the entrants who provided exceptional design solutions to their customers. Ultimately, the real winners are those homeowners who receive the best combination of service and quality.

Contracting Business is proud to introduce the very best of 2003 — our Quality Home Comfort Award winners. Click on the links below to read about this year's QHCA winners in .pdf format.

Winner Renovation, up to 3,000 sq. ft.
A Thoroughbred Comfort System
Orchard Valley Technology has won or been recognized seven times in the quality Home comfort Awards. Their latest entry is a thoroughbred job involving a renovation on a 100-acre horse farm.

Winner Renovation, more than 3,000 sq. ft.
Ensuring Comfort while Preserving the Past
No room for an HVAC system? Not a problem. Climate Engineering came up with a design for this 1830-era beauty that keeps residents as cool as cucumbers, without being seen or heard.

Winner New Construction, up to 4,000 sq. ft.
Positively Radiant
Great design, good planning, and teamwork paved the way to a top-notch installation and year-round comfort for this home in Norfolk, VA.

Winner New Construction, 4,001 - 6,000 sq. ft.
Dome Sweet Dome
Built into the side of a mountain, this concrete-reinforced dome home posed design challenges that could stymie many HVAC contractors. Not so with GLC Services of Canton, NC. Read about the design and installation that smoother out the curves thrown by the dome construction.

Winner New Construction, more than 6,000 sq. ft.
Reputation Radiates Comfort and Quality
When designing a 10,000 sq. ft. home on the shores of Lake Erie, the Kaiser family needed a comfort system that would fend off the ravages of Ohio weather. Andy Stack & Sons, lived up to their quality reputation by listening to the customer and delivering what they needed in style, on time, and within budget.

The Best Of The Rest: Meet The Runners-Up

Our Honorable Mentions

Things To Think About

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