Comfort conditioning Rocky Mountain homes

COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION is not the only growth bonanza in the Rocky Mountains. Each year more people are making the choice to build second homes there, and the area is experiencing tremendous growth in the residential construction market. R&H Mechanical is very heavily involved in the residential marketplace and works with a variety of builders to design and build homes and chalets that are conditioned

COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION is not the only growth bonanza in the Rocky Mountains. Each year more people are making the choice to build second homes there, and the area is experiencing tremendous growth in the residential construction market. R&H Mechanical is very heavily involved in the residential marketplace and works with a variety of builders to design and build homes and chalets that are conditioned using hydronic and hydro-air comfort systems.

"Nearly 90% of all our residential work is engineered," explains Dave Young, co-owner of R& H Mechanical with his brother Scott. "In the mountains around Vail, homes tend to be larger, typically in the 4,000- to 10,000-sq.-ft. range, and the mechanical systems that go into them tend to be more like small commercial systems."

Young adds that R&H has worked on several residential projects that were 25,000 sq. ft. or bigger. The average price for homes in the Vail area is between $5 million and $10 million.

Yet, like elsewhere around the United States, R&H Mechanical faces the task of convincing builders that hydronic systems are not all the same and are not too expensive to include in the homes they build. Scott Young says R&H's success in the residential market is based on its ability to show builders how hydronic systems add value to the home while providing the highest energy efficiencies available.

That takes marketing and promotion, which Scott Young says R&H works very hard at doing. Its marketing campaigns usually focus on the company's hydronics and snow-melting expertise. This even includes a password-protected Website where homeowners can watch the development of their home via the Internet.

"Once builders and consumers are properly educated and experience the comfort provided by hydronic systems, that's all they want," Scott Young says. "In the higher end homes the demand for radiant heating is growing very quickly."

Snow-melt systems are also very popular in residential projects. The Youngs say they typically install such systems to remove snow from driveways 6,000 sq. ft. or larger.

"We only deal in the higher end high-efficiency equipment," Dave Young adds. "Because of this, we don't see our business really being affected by the new efficiency standards that become law in 2006."