I am looking to build a house next spring just north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I wish to put in a zoning system to allow for more efficient use of heating and cooling energy and to keep the house consistently heated over varying heat loads. The problem is when I talk to local contractors most do not want to deal with this kind of system or are giving me conflicting feed back.

The systems I would like to install is(and I have yet to get a price on either):

Trane:
-ComfortLink 2
-10 zones
-XR16 heat pump
-Electric Air Handler with 15kW of backup heat

Carrier:
-SYSTXCCUIZ01-V
-8 zones(need to combine 2 basement bedrooms, and storage and basement play room)
-25VNA heat pump
-Electric Air Handler with 15kW of backup heat

with both systems only main thermastat, master bedroom and basement play room will have displays.

The biggest discrepancy I seem to be getting is how they would plan to run the duct work.

1) Some contractors say each zone needs to have a home run back to the air handler. If this is the case I need to rethink my plans as it would likely be to expensive.
2) Some contractors have said I can put the air handler in the middle of the house have 2 damper motors on either side of it then run truncs down the house splitting off for each zone. This would be ideal but reading through the literature and wiring diagrams of these systems makes me think this is not natively possible with either system and not possible at all with the carrier system. I am pretty sure I could use a small PLC to make it possible with the Trane system(I am an Electrician)
3) None have suggested this but I wounder if it is possible. Same as (2) but remove the damper motors. Assuming everything was sealed well would not back pressure from all the closed dampers prevent air from flowing down the side not calling for air.

The trane system is a lot nicer looking and has a lot more options but Carriers heat pump is much more efficient a HSPF of 13 vs Tranes HSPF of 9.5

I would love any advice and/or quotes on installing the system. I am an electrician and can handle all the wiring of the systems but I don't want to deal with installing of the ducts or heat pump and to what I have read sizing of ducts can be very critical.

Let me know if there is anymore information anyone needs. And thanks for any advice/quotes people can give me.

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