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PA University Replaces Energy Wheel and Saves $200K

Watch this session from the NFMT conference that took place in March 2023 in Baltimore

Laboratory buildings typically exhaust a great deal of air and bring substantial amounts of outside air to maintain safe indoor air quality. As such, the energy consumption for HVAC in labs is relatively high compared to traditional classroom and office buildings.

This case study explains that in a particular case, the air handlers were originally outfitted with energy recovery wheels, a competing technology to heat pipes; however, the wheels never performed as expected.

The building maintenance and energy efficiency staff at the University were looking for an alternative to the energy recovery wheel that could be retrofitted into the air handlers with minimal changes. They had considered heat pipe heat exchangers but ruled them out as they assumed they would only work in one season.

An introduction to a pump-assisted air-to-air heat pipe heat exchanger (AAHX) convinced them that this technology was available for retrofit, would operate in both seasons with their challenging geometry, and was determined to meet the energy recovery needs, as well as promising the energy recovered will pay back the cost of the system within 2 years of installation.

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Operational Efficiency