My wife and I are having a house built for us in NJ. It looks like our initial hopes for geothermal and radiant heat are going to fall under the budget axe (plus the reluctance of the builder to get involved in those options), leaving us with natural gas forced hot air.

We're at the contract stage and want to make sure that we at least end up with a very good forced air system and an appropriately "tight" house. What should we insist on in the contract with respect to the HVAC system and insulation to ensure good, even, not too dry and efficient heat (and a/c)?

The builder already has promised to provide a highly efficient furnace and two zone heat (presumably upstairs and downstairs zones; it'll be a two story colonial with @3,500 sf plus a full basement). We'll put those two items in the contract, though if more detail should be added please let me know.

What else should we write into the contract? We have a little extra money to spend for a good system since we've backed off the more expensive options (geothermal, radiant, baseboard, etc.).

We've had a bad experience in our current home with forced hot air and want to make sure the new system is very good.

The GC will be hiring the HVAC sub so now is the time to put our wants and needs into the main contract since we won't be dealing too much with the HVAC guy. Our builder also prefers to use batt insulation instead of blown-in so please keep that in mind.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. The more specific the better!