Benefits of Heat Recovery Ventilation in an Energy-Efficient Building


Today’s homes and buildings are being constructed with increasing attention to a tight building envelope. These techniques can have a number of benefits, such as better indoor air quality control and increased longevity of the building itself. These homes also require special attention to the ventilation. A heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system provides optimal benefits by ensuring a continuous flow of fresh, conditioned air.

How a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) Works

A heat recovery ventilator is a whole-house system that uses a combination of controls, fans, and heat-recovery elements which exhaust the building’s stale air while bringing in fresh air from outdoors. Before releasing the fresh air into the home, most of the heat energy from the exhausted air is transferred to the incoming air.

This allows for a continuous stream of air that maintains a steady, comfortable temperature while using little energy in comparison to standard heating and cooling systems. At the same time, the incoming air undergoes “quality control” in that it minimizes the entry of dust, pollen, insects, and other issues that may be introduced by less holistic ventilation methods.

Heat Recovery Ventilation vs Exhaust-Only Ventilation

Especially in an airtight home or building, it’s critical to make sure that a strong ventilation strategy is in place. When these buildings rely solely on exhaust-only ventilation, they may be exhausting heated or cooled air in an unnecessary way. Furthermore, this strategy doesn’t consider where the make-up air will come from.

In some cases, this make-up air may come from undesirable places like between insulated walls, under floors, and attics. In addition to a less controlled ventilation strategy, exhaust-only ventilation appliances like bath fans often have a higher level of energy consumption than a streamlined and efficient continuous ventilation solution.