ERV System Case Study in a Public-School Setting

Energy Wall Brings Fresh Air Ventilation to a New York School District

Prior to selecting an ERV system, officials of a public school district in the New York City area understood the benefits that increased fresh air ventilation could provide in their school buildings. Their goal was to reduce contamination—particularly virus loading—and generally improve indoor air quality to support the well-being of students, teachers, and staff. However, they were also all too aware of the challenge posed by the design of their 100-year-old buildings, with limited rooftop space and the maxed-out capacity of their existing HVAC systems. The realities of the region’s cold winters and hot, humid summers, during which increased ventilation would result in a significant waste of energy, added to these challenges.

System designers working with the school district recognized that an Energy Recovery Ventilation System and, specifically, the Energy Wall Universal ERV, would be the ideal solution. Among the decisive factors favoring the Energy Wall ERV system were that:

  • The vintage buildings had small, deeply pitched roofs
  • A narrow, spiral staircase provided the only access to the buildings’ limited attic space
  • The administration did not want to mar the classic architectural details by cutting new openings in the roofs or sidewalls

The Energy Wall U-ERV-3000 and U-ERV-3600 units (3,000 and 3,600 cfm, respectively), with their modular, extremely lightweight, and compact designs, were uniquely suited to meeting the challenge of equipping these buildings with a state-of-the-art ERV system.

The customer was also able to realize a substantial reduction in installation cost, since there is NO CRANE REQUIRED to install the lightweight modules used to build Energy Wall ERV systems. Typically, crane expenses can add $15,000 per facility to air handler installation costs, but the Energy Wall modules were easily hand-carried to the attics of these vintage buildings.

The Energy Wall ERV system installed in the public school buildings succeeded based on multiple metrics. The buildings now meet guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) that call for a minimum of six air changes per hour (ACH) in a classroom. This means that, six times each hour, the air in the room is completely exhausted and replaced with fresh outside air to support better oxygenation and decontamination for an environment that is safer and more supportive of learning, cognition, and productivity. Yet the space- and weight-saving Energy Wall platform enabled the school district to meet this ventilation standard with an ERV system, resulting in energy savings and no risk of overloading the existing HVAC system.

In one school building, for example, over a one-year test period, average daily maximum-hour BTU savings ranged from 279,867 in September through 702,214 in February. Energy Wall’s ERV system also saved the school system the additional expense of installing an additional 680KBTU heating system, which would otherwise have been needed at this facility.

How can we help you solve the unique ventilation and energy challenges facing your facilities? To learn more, call 717.814.5365. We’ll connect you with an expert engineer at an authorized Energy Wall distributor serving your region.