Hydronic Residential Under 5,000 sq. ft.

The first thing Clay Thornton wants you to know is that other radiant contractors have won more than one System Showcase Award, too. After purposely sitting out the 1999 competition, Thornton Plumbing And Heating won for this 4,900 sq. ft. residence.

It's a fairly small abode for the company, which is putting the finishing touches on a 28,000 sq. ft. home with 19,000 sq. ft. of snowmelt. Next up, a 35,000 sq. ft. home with a "very large" snowmelt system.

But this year's award-winner stands out since an integrated system melts snow, supplies domestic hot water and delivers warm water for the radiant floors.

The snowmelt system, at 3,200 sq. ft., isn't much smaller than the house and takes care of the driveway, walkway and decks. A tekmar 661 detects the snow and a tekmar 353 injection-type setpoint controls the temperature of the glycol. A flat heat exchanger separates the heating and snowmelt systems.

Inside the home are six radiant floor zones, including one for the dog kennel. Most zones are split further into subzones so thermostats are in almost every major room. A Burnham Alliance 80-gallon indirect water heater provides the domestic hot water. Two 300,000 Btu Fulton pulse heating boilers, more typically speced for industrial purposes, provides the power. The boilers are controlled by a tekmar 252 two-stage boiler control. A tekmar 371 injection-type whole house outdoor reset control and a tekmar 367 tempers the water delivered to radiant floors.

If at this point you're saying, "This sounds like an mechanical engineer's house," you're right. This is a mechanical engineer's house. Thornton has been installing systems designed by the engineer for years.

"When he approached us about installing a system for his own home," Thornton says, "it was obvious this was not going to be a run-of-the-mill system."

Second Place
Parson Residence
Chesterfield, Mass.
Orchard Valley Technology

Third Place
Brown Residence
Whitefish, Mont.
Radiant Specialties