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Case Studies

Case Study: HVAC System Earns A Triple Crown

By Terry McIver,

How do you conserve space and energy, conceal all ductwork, and not detract from the architecture of a beautiful new home, all when you're also trying to design a superior quality HVAC system? That was the triple challenge facing Gary Cottam and his team at Cottam Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., as they designed this winner in our 2007 Quality Home Comfort Awards. "From the beginning, I knew this project was going to be a challenge, but it was a challenge I was willing to accept," Cottam says.

The new, Victorian style home is situated in Larchmont, NY, a suburb of Westchester County. The homeowners, Mr. and Mrs. Rudolf Laager, wanted a system that would conserve energy, provide ample comfort everywhere — especially in the kitchen — and be completely out-of-sight.

Mr. Laager had brought his views on saving energy with him from his native Switzerland. Accordingly, he hired Murphy's Cell-Tech, St. Johnsbury, VT, and a thermal envelope specialist, to guarantee the home would comply with Energy Star standards. The home has since been certified as ENERGY STAR® qualified.

Laager, an avid chef, wanted ample air conditioning in the kitchen for cooking and entertaining. All ductwork and grille work would be invisible, with minimal access panels and soffits.


Laager home project

Laager home project

"They wanted to occupy the basement and attic as livable space, so we needed to do everything we could to respect their wishes," Cottam says. "This meant we had to route the ductwork through the entire house without any obstructions to the aesthetics of the home, without any exposure. I wanted to be certain that the attic and basement would both be comfortable, seeing as those two issues were so important to the homeowners.

"It's always my intention to provide a customer with an efficient system, in a way that leaves the customer satisfied and content. No matter how much I was to put into the project, nothing could compare to how much the homeowners and I got out of it," Cottam says.

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