Trane - Health, Wellness and Performance Depend on Whole House Approach


Albert Cummings, both a renowned blues guitarist and a fourth-generation custom home builder, is building a high-performance home with his wife Christina Cummings for their family in Massachusetts. He wants his new Berkshires Mountain home to be a one-of-a-kind sanctuary.

“We knew that a high-performance mechanical system was going to be an important part of our home, and we were looking for one that could help meet local Stretch Code requirements for energy efficiency and also provide improved indoor air quality,” said Albert Cummings. “Throughout this planning process, we’ve appreciated the way companies like Trane integrate their systems with our design and other products in the building envelope to help create healthy and efficient spaces throughout our home.”


While it may seem simple to request a home that’s comfortable to live in, energy-efficient and with good indoor air quality, delivering on those outcomes can be complex.

“Houses today are more complicated to build, and energy codes are more stringent than ever,” said Mike Topitzhofer, national account manager for Trane. “Builders need to construct homes that are airtight with more insulation and more control over vapor and humidity. The HVAC system needs to be designed with that in mind.”

Trane’s whole-home approach begins during the design and construction phase and takes into consideration that the more insulation you use, the less total output is required from the HVAC system.

“You need to right-size the equipment to control the humidity,” Topitzhofer said. “If you oversize your equipment, you run the risk of short-cycling, which is hard on equipment and can lead to excess moisture in the house.”

While Trane and the Cummings started with the mechanical design for their Berkshires home, the collaborative process expanded throughout the structure, with consideration for the thermal envelope, air filtration and handling, and ventilation.


Indoor air quality is important to most homeowners, but the Cummings have two special reasons to be concerned about fresh air: they have allergies and a world-class guitar collection.

“The guitar room, which will hold my collection of guitars and function as a music room and entertaining space, needs a climate-controlled environment that effectively controls temperature and humidity,” said Albert. “Trane worked with us to make sure that room, along with the entire house, will meet our high-performance standards.”

Among the array of Trane products in the whole house system designed for the Cummings are two Trane 20 SEER heat pumps; two Trane variable speed modular, multi-position air handlers with hydronic backup heaters; a Trane ComfortLink thermostat and zoning system; a Trane connected temperature and humidity sensor; a Trane energy recovery ventilator; two Trane CleanEffects whole home air cleaners; and a Trane whole-house steam humidifier.

“The air cleaners are about eight times more effective than the best HEPA room filters,” said Topitzhofer. “The ERV constantly provides better indoor air quality with fresh, filtered, and preconditioned outside air, which saves on heating and cooling costs.”

Whether you’re building a house in the clean mountain air of the Berkshires or any other climate, Trane’s whole-house approach combines superior energy performance with wellness benefits for a more comfortable and healthier home.

By Michele Lerner



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