Starting with the architectural design, the Proud Green Home of St. Louis reflects the desire for a high level of indoor air quality, as well as energy efficiency and an inviting refuge for the family.
Indoor air quality is one of the top goals of the new home, because one of the children that will be living there has environmental sensitivities due to asthma and allergies. The family wanted a home that will not cause adverse respiratory issues for their child.
The high performance five-bedroom, 3,700 square-foot Prairie-style home – built in partnership with Hibbs Homes, Verdatek Solutions, Curtiss W. Byrne Architect, and the High Performance Buildings Research Center (part of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Research Consortium at the University of Missouri-Columbia) was constructed to provide the homeowners with better indoor air quality, lower energy costs, and better durability. This “Proud Green Home” will also educate and inspire building professionals and consumers about the benefits of building and living green. It is the second high performance demonstration home created with support from ProudGreenHome.com.
In this video, green building consultant Matt Belcher, with Verdatek Solutions and director of the High Performance Buildings Research Center, reviews the ventilation for the home, feature an Energy Recovery Ventilator from Zehnder America. The home incorporates a Comfoair 550 ERVenergy 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 the Proud Green Home of St. Louis.