Why Ventilation Is So Important to Consider When Making Energy Efficiency Improvements?

Traditionally when deciding to make energy efficiency improvements in the home, the first thing that often comes to mind is better insulation, air sealing sources of air leakage and possibly upgrading heating/cooling equipment.  Sometimes ventilation is overlooked but it plays a very important role in maximizing energy efficiency, health, and comfort.  As air sealing and insulation improvements are made for the home, you need a mechanical ventilation strategy to ensure a constant supply of fresh air for the home.

Regular Efficiency HRV vs. High-Efficiency HRV

heat recovery ventilator provides a constant supply of fresh filtered air for its occupants.  The higher the heat recovery percentage, the higher the comfort level for the occupants.  As an example, if the indoor room temperature is 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and the outside temperature is 30 degrees, the heat recovery rate could mean the difference of low 60-degree air coming into the house vs over 65-degree air entering the house.  A regular efficiency HRV can sometimes bring in fresh air at uncomfortable temperatures and as a result, occupants turn them off or use intermittently because of discomfort.  This is a concern because, without the constant supply of fresh ventilation, the indoor air quality and comfort can be below needed levels.

Another important consideration is the more efficient HRV you use, the smaller heating (and cooling) equipment you need, saving on costs of the heating (cooling) equipment.  If you use a less efficient HRV, you will have to spend more on heating equipment and ongoing costs to warm the air to a comfortable temperate.   A high-efficiency HRV costs often less than $80 annually to operate.
How Heat Recovery Ventilation Helps Provide a Healthy and Comfortable Indoor Environment

When relying on natural ventilation, the air can be coming in by infiltration through undesirable cracks and openings in the building, whereas as an HRV filters the incoming air before it enters the home.  An HRV helps provide benefits such as allergy relief and greater control of the indoor air quality in the home.  Also differing from natural ventilation, since the air is preheated before entering the home, a high-efficiency HRV can eliminate unpleasant drafts in the home.