ERV and Me: Energy Recovery Ventilation and the Future of HVAC

ERV and Me: Energy Recovery Ventilation and the Future of HVAC

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Unless you’re heavily into the industry, it is unlikely that you know much about Energy Recovery Ventilators, or ERV’s. So let’s help you get a better understanding of this game-changer in residential and commercial HVAC.

An example of an energy recovery ventilator, ERV | LIGHTSPARK INC.

ERV’s are systems that essentially ‘trade’ the air from within a building, for ventilated outdoor air, through a complex conditioning process. In the summer months, ERV systems pre-cool and dehumidify air, leading to a system that is akin to air conditioning – but at a fraction of the cost. Because this is a system that relies on the principle of energy transfer to provide cool (or heated) air, it can reduce the energy consumption load of a conventional HVAC system in both the winter and summer months. 

One of the biggest boons of an ERV system is actually an ironic one: because of the complex nature of energy transfer in heating and cooling systems, ERV’s actually run better when the weather is more extreme. In other words, if the weather is hotter and more humid, that will provide for a better cooling experience following exchange, and vice versa for extreme cold. Imagine – a system that actually helps you get more comfortable in extreme weather conditions. Seems like science fiction, but it’s not. 

Why haven’t you heard of ERV? Firstly, it’s a system that is primarily used in commercial buildings, and at larger scales than conventional HVAC or heat pump systems. Because these commercial systems tend to draw on huge amounts of power – often simultaneously – a system that can save on nearly half of the energy cost of a conventional HVAC system is a worthwhile investment. To that end, ERV’s have been noted to give better indoor air quality than conventional HVAC’s, with humidity maintained at a reasonable level. Add to this the filtering of particulate matter that the system does automatically, and you have a system that truly does live up to the nickname ‘The Lungs of the Home’.

To that end, ERV’s are immensely reliable – some estimates put their peak lifespan at an average of 20 years, an impressive feat for an HVAC system. ERV’s also run very quietly, and are becoming increasingly more compact and cost-effective for residential installation. Companies like Lifebreath and Nu-Air Ventilation are leading the charge on self-installable residential units, and it is likely that newer large-scale condominium unit projects will consider ERV’s for their ventilation systems. All of this is to say that this is a technology that, while still in its relative infancy, has the potential to be a gamechanger in HVAC.

Want to learn more about ERV’s, and find one that might be the right fit for you or for your client? Lightspark has you covered. Through our Lightspark Engage platform, we will connect you with local and national ERV providers and installers at the click of a button, allowing you to surf and compare providers. We also can connect you with tradespeople who can advise on the system that best fits your home’s unique needs – whether it be ERV or otherwise.

If you want to get in on the secret that residential buildings have been holding onto for years, it’s worth looking into ERV. Contact Lightspark today, and we’ll help you get started.

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