Why is this box smiling?
This plain looking box is a heat recovery ventilator. It’s happy because it knows it’s a key technology for the switch to cleaner, more efficient heating and cooling in buildings. Numerous states and cities around the world are requiring net-zero energy, zero greenhouse gas buildings, within a dozen years or so. To meet this requirement, builders are making building envelopes tighter and electrifying heating and cooling. This means they need special fresh air ventilation systems that bring in fresh and expel stale air, but without expelling the heating energy or cooling energy with it. This box transfers the heating or cooling energy from the outgoing to the incoming air, making cleaner, healthier, more efficient tight buildings possible.
HRVs and similar appliances called ERVs (energy recovery ventilators) are requirements for passive house and standard equipment for net-zero buildings. Architects and builders everywhere are beginning to routinely use them, and homeowners doing energy retrofits should too. The ERV costs a little more than an HRV, because in addition to heating or cooling energy, it also manages inside humidity. As with most green building technology, HRVs pay for themselves in a few years and there’s probably a grant available from your local government or utility. Google it and smile!