Proud Green Home of Louisville uses an ERV for comfort and healthy living

Proud Green Home of Louisville uses an ERV for comfort and healthy living

Front elevation rendering for the Proud Green Home of Louisville, courtesy of Pohl Rosa Pohl.

The Proud Green Home of Louisville will use whole-house ventilation to ensure a healthy fresh air supply to its residents.

Because it will be a very energy-efficient home, there will be little natural airflow, like in many older homes that leak air around doors and windows and other openings.

So the builder of Su Verde, orAbout Green in Italian, Sy Safi of UberGreen Spaces & Homes, will incorporate an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) that will continuously exchange air in the home. It will exhaust stale air and bring in fresh outside air. The ERV will temper the air, exchanging heat in the outgoing air during the winter months to the incoming air, warming it so it's very close to the room temperature. The process is reversed during the summer, so the ERV will temper the incoming warm air close the to the temperature of the cooler indoor conditioned air.

The Louisville-based green designer and builder is creating what could be Kentucky’s greenest home yet for the Homearama show in Norton Commons this summer. UberGreen Spaces & Homes is a creative division of GCCM Construction Services LLC.

“Not only will this home be the first of its kind in the Commonwealth, it will be the home of the future,” says Sy Safi, principal, UberGreen Spaces & Homes. “Almost 90% of our lives are spent indoors which puts great emphasis on the importance of proper design, and a healthy and safe environment for our families.”

The Proud Green Home of St. Louis also incorporated an ERV into its design.

Watch a video, Zehnder ERV makes life more comfortable in the Proud Green Home of St. Louis to see green building consultant Matt Belcher, with Verdatek Solutions and director of the High Performance Buildings Research Center, review the ventilation for the home, which features a Comfoair 550 ERV energy recovery ventilator (ERV) from Zehnder.

An ERV system works continuously to extract moist, stale air from wet rooms (kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms) and supply fresh, filtered air to habitable rooms (bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms). Up to 90 percent of the heat in the extract air is recovered by the heat exchanger in the unit and used to heat the incoming fresh air.

The HRV/ERV recovers most of the comfortable room temperature and uses it to pre-cool the incoming air. Therefore, the incoming air to the home is already close to room temperature when it is distributed to living spaces. The air conditioning needs to be run far less for cooling.  By distributing the pre-cooled air evenly through rooms, hot spots in the home are reduced, and it’s a lot more comfortable for inhabitants.

A Heat Recovery Ventilator, or HRV, only exchanges heat in the air. An ERV also exchanges transfers humidity from one airstream to the other. The Zehnder ERV transfers the humidity as water vapor by diffusion from the high to the low partial vapor pressure side. As this process occurs, it also prevents cross contamination of the air streams, so that the exhaust air (gases, odors, etc.) is not recirculated into the fresh air stream. The ERV exchanger pores are just large enough for a small water vapor molecule to fit through but too small for larger air constituents or VOC molecules to fit through.

Energy recovery ventilators help maintain a comfortable and healthy home by reducing the temperature and humidity of the fresh incoming air during the hot, humid summer time. This is an important energy saving method. It’s a healthier and more comfortable alternative to excessively running air conditioning to combat high humidity and temperature infiltrating a home through cracks and openings in the building.

The ERV is designed to run quietly in the background, with a very low sound level so the homeowners won't even know it's there.

Read more about energy recovery ventilators.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Recovery & Heat Recovery, Heating & Cooling, Indoor Air Quality, Passive House, Proud Green Home of Louisville

Companies: Zehnder America

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