In a changing world, there are certain constants. One of those is that Jim Patterson of Orchard Valley Heating and Cooling, Southampton, MA, will perform outstanding residential comfort system design and installations. Patterson this year notches his 11th Quality Home Comfort Award.

Patterson performs all of the design, installation, start-up, and servicing of his systems. In recent years, he has gained two helpers: his sons Brian and Matt. Brian recently completed his two-year degree in HVAC at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA, and Matt is just finishing his degree in the same program.

"My experience with the Quality Home Comfort Awards over the years has taught me a great deal in respect to my desire to maintain the integrity of the systems I am called upon to design and install," Patterson says. “The pride I take in my success with the Quality Home Comfort Awards program translates into my day-to-day operations and my interactions with clients and busines associates. I treat every project as a potential award winner and strive to deliver perfection on each system. Clients deserve that attention, as well as the opportunity to experience what a well designed and installed system can do for their home living environment.”

Patterson added that his 11 Quality Home Comfort Awards have helped in training Brian and Matt the importance of doing things the right way.

"I want them to learn not to cut corners to get jobs, and deliver unmatched comfort and a great experience for the client every time," he says.

In this case, the beneficiaries of Patterson's devotion to his craft are the owners of this 2,726 sq.ft. barn-style guest and pool house. Guests will certainly feel like royalty in this spectacular setting overlooking the Berkshire Hills. The guest/pool house includes a bedroom, spa, entertaining room, and studio loft. The main room features a 30-ft. high vaulted ceiling and custom wood paneling. Just outside of the structure is a heated in-ground swimming pool and a redwood hot tub. Extensive stone walls surround the pool and hot tub, as well as an outdoor fireplace and shower.

"A desire to blend green efficiency into a design that held several high-demand features, such as the hot tub, shower, and pool, was the driving force behind the design," Patterson says. "We wanted something that served the needs when called on, but remained in the background in the meantime."

Patterson’s design features a 5-ton water-to-water, closed-loop geothermal system that serves the home’s radiant and air systems (both heating and cooling). The home's high ceilings made it a perfect candidate for a staple-down radiant system. The second-stage of winter heating and summer cooling and dehumidification is accomplished using an air system made up of the geothermal system and two Carrier air handlers equipped with Hydron Module "A" coils.

"The boilers are capable of providing a quick reheat of the structure as it's not used as a primary living space and may be set to lower temps for long periods and need reheat quickly— a task not easily available with the geothermal due to the low-delivery (120F) temps to the air handlers," Patterson explains.

The main air system is split into three zones, and the spa has its own air handler and acts as its own zone.

The home's tight, spray-foam envelope required careful attention to ventilation. In particular, the steam shower in the spa wing needed adequate ventilation to prevent it from causing condensation on the skylight above. To handle the ventilation needs, Patterson selected a Venmar EKO air exchanger. The pool and hot tub's water heating requirements, as well as that of the master shower's full-load flow of 24 gpm ("flotation vests are kept just outside of the shower," Patterson jokes) were met using two 225 kBtu boilers and two 120-gal. indirect hot water storage tanks.

According to Patterson, the water-to-water geothermal equipment was chosen to streamline the system and create a single geothermal appliance for all of the systems. The dual-boiler system uses lead/lag technology and a wide range of modulation to ensure efficiency.

Two Sanuvox ultraviolet air purification systems help maintain good indoor air quality in the structure.

Start-up and balancing of the system went smoothly, thanks to Patterson's dedication to properly sizing and installing duct systems. "I place a great deal of attention on duct design, as properly sized and installed systems are very easy to balance," he says. "Zoning also helps create 'self-balancing' systems, as the satisfied zones shut down and the system focuses on areas needing more cooling or heating."

Patterson says that he was fortunate to work with homeowners who were receptive to — and eventually sold on — the benefits of geothermal space conditioning.

"All-in-all the system has been very successful, and has led us to win phase two: the main house, which we will be roughing in this summer," he says.

The homeowners told Contracting Business.com that they chose Patterson because he was attentive and timely with his interest in the project. He was also keen to offer the education and analysis they requested. "He won the business because he engaged early and with deep expertise that he was willing to share," they said.

"Technically, there was a lot to balance: seasonal heating and cooling, the pool, a four-season spa and hot tub, and a large main room" the homeowners add. "[Jim] managed the design and integration very well. He was on top of the technologies, and that was impressive. We anticipated that his enthusiasm and character would carry over to the project in on-time management and good communication for important decisions; this is exactly what happened. The project was on-time and well managed. So, we gave him a second project without reservations."

It's said that the reward for good work is more work, and Patterson looks forward to continuing to work with the homeowners, architect, and builder on the second phase of this project.

"This is the third project on which I've worked with architects Burr and McCallum, and they are one of the best firms I've had the pleasure of working with," Patterson says. They're very much into the Design/Build approach and allow me to 'do my thing,' promoting the technology I believe in so much. And Scott and Chris at Chenaille Moore Builders are both top-notch builders, making this an amazing experience despite the nearly two-hour drive to the job.

"This project was a great 'blank canvas,'" he adds. "It allowed me to work all of the design features into a very neat composition, which is one of the tasks I enjoy most. "It's rare that I'm able to blend all of these technologies the way I was able to on this home. The challenges presented really pressed my design ability to turn out something worthy of this project."

And worthy of yet another in his long line of Quality Home Comfort Awards.

PRODUCTS KEY TO SUCCESS

  • IBC boilers
  • Carrier air handlers
  • Carrier zone controls
  • Hydron Module A-coils (chilled and hot water)
  • Hydron Module 5-ton water-to-water geothermal heat pump
  • Venmar heat exchangers
  • Phase 3 pool heat exchangers
  • Grundfos pumps
  • Uponor tubing, manifolds, and heat transfer panels
  • GR8 duct wrap
  • Sanuvox UV air purification system
  • Honeywell filters
  • Caleffi hydraulic separator
  • Viega ProPress copper piping