Last month, New York-based contractor Halco won the 2019 GeoStar Top Job Competition for its exceptional retrofit of a historic home.

The Noble House, in Fayetteville, NY was built in the early 1800s by a prominent abolitionist. Current owner, William Sunderlin, a climate scientist with a strong commitment to clean energy, retained Halco to reduce his home’s energy footprint.

Halco’s work in the Noble House exemplifies the high-quality work that Pearl Network contractors do. Halco won the GeoStar award for their installation of a very high-quality geothermal system on the property, a technical challenge given relatively small lot size. But their work didn’t stop there – in fact, it didn’t even start there.

Following its “reduce, then produce” philosophy, Halco first air sealed and insulated the home, changing the thermal barrier in the attic to bring the air handlers into conditioned space. They addressed humidity and ventilation issues. They replaced the previous gas water heater with a unit powered by the heat pump. They installed smart thermostats with energy monitoring and humidity control capabilities. And they did all this within the constraints of New York State’s historic preservation guidelines. (I can confirm from personal experience that these guidelines can really complicate a job).

In short, Halco not only installed a source of renewable energy – they also made the home much more comfortable, safe, and energy efficient.

Given this level of work, the Noble Home easily gained a Pearl Platinum rating. So far it’s only the second home in New York to achieve this level. (The first was also renovated by Halco.)

I had two takeaways from this story. The first is that almost any home can transform its energy footprint. Halco faced all sorts of obstacles on this job: old building fabric, small lot size, and stringent state regulations. If you can make it to Pearl Platinum here, you can make it anywhere, at least from a technical perspective.

The second takeaway is that the right contractor makes all the difference. Finding a contractor who can not only install a top-quality geothermal system, but conduct a first-rate home performance upgrade as well, is hard to do – but worth it.

Our mission is to help homeowners across the U.S. find these rare, right contractors through the elite Pearl Network — and we’re delighted Halco is a Network member so we can help more homeowners access upgrades like the one that transformed the Noble House.