Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) in Cold Climates

Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) exchange stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air, recovering heat and moisture from the exhaust air and transferring it to supply air. Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs), on the other hand, only recover heat from exhaust air and thus dry out the indoor air. In a cold dry climate like Interior Alaska, ERVs could help improve indoor air quality by adding moisture to the air.

Part 1

An initial study looked at eight different ERVs in Fairbanks over one winter to see whether they were more likely to freeze up by handling moisture in the core. None of them froze, suggesting ERVs could be a good option for improving air quality in Interior Alaska.
Part 1 - Full report

Part 2

A followup project compared ERV to HRV performance. The ERVs improved humidity levels in the buildings and resisted freezing better than HRVs.
Part 2 - Full report

Report

CCHRC tested the Panasonic Intelli-Balance Cold Climate ERV for effectiveness and freezing potential.

PDF icon Report

Projects

Little Ventilation Project Looking at ventilation systems that can improve indoor air quality in small homes while limiting energy use.
Slab-on-Grade Foundation Best Practices An evaluation of best practices for insulating under slab-on-grade foundations
Bath Fan Installation Best Practices Create standards for installing bath fans based on an evaluation of five Panasonic WhisperGreen units.
Garage Wall Analysis CCHRC is looking at attached garages to see if they adequately prevent pollutants from entering the house.
Vacuum Insulated Panel Test CCHRC is testing how Vacuum Insulated Panels can be assembled to achieve extremely high R-values in cold climate homes.