skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Field Validation of a Smart Energy Recovery Ventilation System Using Low-Cost Indoor Air Quality Sensors

Technical Report ·
DOI:· OSTI ID:1772579
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Southface Institute, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  2. Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA (United States)
  3. Underwriters Laboratories, Northbrook, IL (United States)

This project is a field validation, using low-cost indoor air quality (IAQ) sensors, of a smart ventilation system that can help low-load homes in humid environments maintain acceptable indoor humidity conditions while providing adequate ventilation according to ASHRAE 62.2. The objectives of this research were to (1) address builders’ concerns with mechanical ventilation in humid environments and (2) answer the question of whether smart control logic helps with occupant comfort and the creation of a more acceptable indoor environment. To address the objectives of the study, the Southface team collected field data for one year in four Charleston, South Carolina, new construction homes in order to determine the differences in occupant comfort; comfort metrics; IAQ; and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption when toggling biweekly between an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) operating continuously and an ERV operating with smart, time-varying humidity control logic. The smart ventilation algorithm under consideration in this field test did create a less humid indoor environment on an annual basis as quantitatively measured through temperature and relative humidity (T/RH) readings, expressed most discernably as “percentage of time above 60% RH” and “percentage of time above 55°F dewpoint.” However, the difference it made was inconsistent during the spring, summer, and fall months, and it was only directionally consistent during the winter months. We suspect that this is primarily due to the long runtimes and concomitant dehumidification activity of the air-conditioning (A/C) units in response to the high sensible loads in Charleston. The effect of the smart ventilation algorithm was not discernable to the occupants in this study, as recorded through seasonal surveys.

Research Organization:
Southface Institute, Atlanta, GA (United States); Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA (United States); Underwriters Laboratories, Northbrook, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Organization:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Energy Efficiency Office. Building Technologies Office
DOE Contract Number:
Report Number(s):
Country of Publication:
United States