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As one Building America Project Ends, Another Begins for SWA’s Research Team

February 25, 2019

Building America LogoWhile making significant strides in the development of an Integrated Energy Recovery Ventilator – a research and development project supported by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America Program – the research team at Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) was notified of more good news. On January 29, the DOE announced the allocation of $42 million in project selections for innovative building research, which included funding for SWA’s proposal to conduct research to develop a low-load integrated heating, dehumidification, and air conditioning (HDAC) comfort system.

The following is a brief overview of both projects, highlighting SWA’s continued work for the DOE’s Building America Program.

The Integrated Energy Recovery Ventilator

SWA sought to address issues often raised by builders about the installation and integration of energy and heat recovery ventilators (E/HRVs) into homes and apartment dwellings. The E/HRVs on the market now can certainly work well in the right application, but there are problems more often than not. One of the biggest challenges is trying to add E/HRVs on to central heating/cooling systems in homes. Most E/HRVs are not designed with that intention. Working with Mitsubishi Electric TraneCORE Energy Recovery Solutions, and Therm-Stor LLC, the team designed and is now prototyping a compact, small-footprint ERV, integrated with efficient forced-air systems.

The team is hopeful”, says Principal Mechanical Engineer, Srikanth Puttagunta. “We anticipate this system will simplify the implementation of whole-house ventilation and ensure balanced ventilation is provided in homes”.

The team is currently soliciting feedback to make the prototype system better. If you are interested in contributing, please complete this short survey. You can also learn more about the Integrated Energy Recovery Ventilator in our blog, ERV + AHU?

Low-Load HDAC Comfort System

As part of the DOE’s recent decision to invest $42 million into innovative building research, the Building America Program allocated $11.5 million across 16 projects, including SWA’s Low-Load HDAC (heating, dehumidification, and air conditioning) Comfort System. This project is in partnership with Therm-Stor LLC.

This system will address two consistent gaps identified by Building America researchers (and many others): lower loads require smaller capacity HVAC systems, and many air-tight, efficient dwellings need better humidity control. The solution would allow for three modes of operation: heating, dehumidification (primarily latent cooling), and cooling (primarily sensible cooling). The competitive advantage of this product is the ability to better match actual sensible and latent space conditioning needs in dwellings – improving comfort, health, durability, and efficiency.

Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of this system. If you would like to learn more about this project and others selected by the Building America Program, click here.