PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Norwalk, CT, United States, 2005/12/09 - A Norwalk heating contractor took on designers and engineers from the U.S. and Canada in a major competition and received the highest score in history, winning a prestigious national award.
JR's Plumbing & Heating, LLC, was recently awarded Best in Show at a national trade contest.
The company, owned by John Ruhnke of Norwalk, received the honor at the Radiant Panel Association’s "System Showcase Awards," held Oct. 11 in Chantilly, Vir.
JR’s Plumbing & Heating, LLC, won the accolades for the radiant heating system designed for the Grove Street Plaza project in Darien, Conn. The project also took first place in the commercial category. In 2004 another project by Ruhnke, the White Fox Road residence, took first place in the retrofit category.
According to the Radiant Panel Association, the company received the highest points total in the history of the competition, which features entries from across Canada and the United States. The contest has been going on for over a decade.
The Grove Street Plaza consists of two buildings, located side by side, surrounding a plaza. The buildings house 10 apartments, along with two retail stores (Birdies in the Nest and JD Cosmetics) and a restaurant (The Melting Pot). The plumbing and heating specialists installed radiant heating in both buildings, and snow melt in the plaza walkways. The project also featured a heated fountain, which functions in winter.
The award was based on photos of the project, along with mechanical and electrical drawings.
The system design consists of radiant tubing being installed on top of the sub-floor though the buildings. Warm water is sent through the tubes providing a gentle, comfortable heat. Tubes are also placed under the walkways to melt the snow in the wintertime. The fountain water runs underground through pipes and into a heat exchanger. A Tekmar computerized control system runs the entire system efficiently and reduces wear and tear. According to Ruhnke, the design saves the client annually in fuel bills.
Ruhnke said his interest in radiant heating was piqued when a client raved about the comforts of the systems in 1995. As a result, he studied the technology, and discovered it was very similar to the hot water baseboard systems that he had been installing for years.
"Radiant heating is huge over in Europe," Ruhnke said. "Nearly two-thirds of all new installations in central Europe are radiantly-heated. Radiant heating has a very small market share here in the U.S. but has been growing fast in popularity by an average of 25 percent each year for the last decade."
According to the Radiant Panel Association, radiant heating is "widely regarded as the most comfortable, healthiest, and most natural heating process available."
Ruhnke is also an amateur inventor with two patents issued and two patents pending. All of his patents are related to hot water heating. He is past president of the Inventors Association of Connecticut, past vice president of the SWCAPHCC, treasurer of the Connecticut chapter of the Radiant Panel Association, and chairman of the Energy Efficiency Action Group for the Radiant Panel Association.