BrHEAThe System

The BrHEAThe system is an integrated heating and ventilation system developed by CCHRC that reduces energy costs while maintaining healthy indoor air quality. CCHRC installed the system in prototype homes in Anaktuvuk Pass (2012), the Sustainable Village at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (2012) and Buckland (2013). 

The BrHEAThe system marries together heating and ventilation so that incoming air is always hot and fresh. Fresh air is brought in through the HRV and recovers heat from outgoing stale air. Then it enters a filter box and passes through a heat exchanger, robbing heat from a loop that’s connected to a boiler. The air is warmed from approximately 40 degrees up to 140 degrees. This heated air is then distributed through ductwork throughout the home. The high efficiency boiler also heats a domestic hot water tank.

As homes are becoming tighter and more energy efficient, mechanical ventilation is needed to maintain healthy indoor air quality. HRVs ensure a constant supply of fresh air, and are far more energy efficient than exhaust-only ventilation systems. However some residents complain that HRVs bring in cold air and use too much electricity (an in-line electric heater is often used to boost the temperature of ventilation air). The BrHEAThe system addresses both of those issues: using an efficient heating system and maintaining a constant supply of fresh warm air to the home. 

The system can also complement homes already using wood stoves for space heating. Researchers are tracking the fuel and power consumption of the system and monitoring indoor CO2 and humidity levels.


This video shows how the system works: 


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BrHEAThe Evaluation In an effort to address these issues CCHRC developed the BrHEAThe system in 2011. BrHEAThe is a combined heating and ventilation system which uses one distribution system to provide fresh air and space heating to high-performance homes in cold climates.
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) in Cold Climates Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) are whole house ventilation systems that exchange stale indoor air with fresh outside air, recovering both heat and moisture from the indoor air to save energy. They have the potential to improve indoor air quality in a cold dry climate like Interior Alaska.
Kenai Indoor Air Quality Study This project examined the most common causes of indoor air quality problems in Southcentral Alaska by monitoring 100 homes for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, temperature, relative humidity, and radon.
Mold Survey A survey of mold problems in Alaska Native housing looked at 73 regional or village housing authorities in Alaska and documented over 1700 apartments or homes with some degree of mold problem.
Southcentral Ventilation Study This study monitored nine houses in Anchorage to assess the effectiveness of their ventilation system and compliance with the Alaska Building Energy Efficiency Standard ventilation requirements.