6 HRV Planning Tips for Architects

Tight buildings need adequate ventilation. Lack of fresh air can lead to sick building syndrome, building-related illness, respiratory ailments, and mold toxicity in occupants. As a result, the demand for fresh indoor air has skyrocketed. Zehnder can help you meet this demand with our ventilation solutions.

Architects are uniquely positioned to boost client satisfaction by designing projects with excellent indoor air quality with a proper ventilation strategy. Zehnder heat recovery ventilators are at the forefront of indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

heat recovery ventilation architects

Protect IAQ with Heat Recovery Ventilation Solutions

Polluted air in homes, schools, apartment complexes, and offices needs to be replaced with fresh air. This is especially true for tightly constructed buildings where there is little air exchange between the interior and exterior. Without proper ventilation, contaminant and moisture levels can become excessive, degrading occupant health and encouraging mold growth.

Zehnder heat recovery ventilators and energy recovery ventilators continuously exhaust stale, polluted air and replace it with fresh, filtered air. Zehnder heat recovery ventilators are the most energy-efficient units available on the market. Our HRV units are 95% efficient in transferring the heat from the intake air to the exhaust air, saving money. Our energy recovery ventilators also help reduce summer humidity levels, decreasing the amount that air conditioners need to run.

Avoid Ventilation Pitfalls

Our HRVs and ERVs avoid many of the ventilation problems that plague some residential and commercial projects. Exhaust fans commonly don’t have enough makeup air to properly exhaust excess moisture and contaminants, and they exhaust heated air out of the thermal enclosure. Relying on gaps and cracks in the exterior allows polluted air to enter, creates drafts, and wastes energy. Our HRV units give ultimate control of air intake for greater indoor air quality.

HRV Planning Tips for Architects

Proper planning helps ensure a seamless installation process from start to finish. The Zehnder team is available with design and technical expertise every step of the way. We commonly work with architects to help meet their clients’ demand for high indoor air quality.

Plan for the HRV unit and tubing

The HRV/ERV unit needs to be placed somewhere inside the project, such as in a basement, utility closet, or attic. It needs to be accessible for servicing and to replace filters as needed. The HRV system also contains tubing that is placed inside walls and ceilings, and open trusses are fine for this.

Locate the unit within the thermal enclosure

When possible, locate the HRV system near an outside wall to keep intake and exhaust runs to the outside as short as possible.

The HRV doesn’t replace the heating and cooling system

Although the HRV or ERV unit saves a lot of energy by recycling heat from the exhaust air to the intake air, it doesn’t replace the heating and cooling system. HRVs can be installed with a heat pump, boiler, wood or pellet stove, fireplace, radiant floor heat, furnace, space heater, air conditioner, geothermal heat exchanger, or swamp cooler.

The HRV should be ducted separately from the HVAC system

Although it may seem logical to share the ductwork with the furnace or cooling system, this has many drawbacks, and we strongly recommend against it. HRV systems are most efficient and effective when they are vented and balanced independently of the HVAC system. When the ductwork is combined, it is extremely difficult to properly balance exhaust and intake air, creating a positive or negative pressure in the house and reducing the efficiency of the unit.

Incorporate numerous energy-efficiency approaches

We recommend using numerous methods to increase building performance, including air sealing, energy-saving windows and doors, a solar orientation, insulation, and even a renewable energy system. Zehnder HRV units compliment high-performance designs and some units are tested and certified by the Passive House Institute.

Use our complimentary design service

The Zehnder team is here to help! Once you have incorporated our planning tips, submit your project plans to our design team, and we can help customize your HRV design, complete with sizing and layout assistance.