Heat Recovery Ventilation for Your Commercial Space: What Is It?
In a commercial environment, one major challenge is providing enough ventilation while keeping the indoor spaces warm without wasting energy or money. In the winter, with cool air being brought in to provide ventilation, a heating system may have to work overtime to warm incoming ventilated air to an acceptable temperature. When this happens, you’re trading better indoor air quality for an increase in your ongoing utility costs. A heat recovery ventilation system provides a reliable way to address this problem by providing plenty of fresh air while keeping heating costs down. Here is a brief overview of heat recovery ventilation, how it works, and how it can benefit both your commercial space and your monthly budget:
Heat Recovery Ventilation Basics
Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), or air-to-air heat exchangers, provide high levels of ventilation for residential or commercial structures. At the same time, these systems recover and recycle much of the heat that’s contained in exhaust air being pumped to the outdoors. This heat would otherwise be lost during the ventilation process. HRVs reuse a substantial portion of the heat you’ve already paid for, which means you don’t have to pay as much to heat incoming air.
The system improves overall HVAC equipment efficiency and reduces the amount you pay to heat your commercial facility. A heat recovery ventilation system is most effective when it’s installed in an attic or upstairs space where it can serve as a whole-structure ventilator, providing fresh, pre-warmed air. The ventilation cycle begins with the HRV pulling stale air into the HVAC system from inside your commercial building. This air can contain particulates, odors and humidity accumulated from the activities that occur within the facility.
However, this used air also contains a significant amount of heat energy. If the air was sent directly out through the ventilation system, this heat energy would be wasted. Instead, the exhausted air is routed into a highly efficient heat exchanger inside the HRV. The heat exchanger is equipped with heat transfer plates that easily collect and transfer heat through several air channels molded into the plates. On the other side of the heat exchanger’s plates, a stream of fresh air is pulled in from outside the building.
This air stream makes contact with the plates, in the process absorbing a major portion of the heat that has been recovered from the exhausted air flowing out through channels on the opposite side of the plate. The two streams of air do not mix or mingle in any way, which ensures that no contaminants are introduced into the incoming fresh air. The system pre-heats the incoming cool air with heat recovered from the outgoing exhaust air stream. The incoming air then continues into the regular air distribution system of the indoor heating equipment. Additional heating brings the incoming fresh air up to required temperatures. The fresh air is then blown into the ductwork and distributed as usual.
Benefits of Heat Recovery Ventilation
- High levels of heat recovery efficiency — HRVs can capture and recycle up to 80 percent of the heat energy contained in outgoing exhaust air.
- Improved indoor air quality — When you have a steady supply of fresh air entering your commercial space for ventilation, the indoor air quality of your facility will significantly improve.
- Less stress on heating equipment — Your HVAC system will be able to heat your commercial space with less wear and tear on the equipment, extending system life and reducing the need for repairs.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about plumbing, HVACR, fire protection and alarm systems in commercial, industrial and residential settings. For more information on heat recovery ventilation and how it can improve performance while also trimming your energy bills, contact Sobieski.