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Energy Recovery System Cuts School's Air-Cooling Costs

Turtle River Montessori School in Jupiter, Fla., wanted its students to have the best possible indoor air quality. It also wanted to provide it in the most energy-efficient manner.



Turtle River Montessori School in Jupiter, Fla., wanted its students to have the best possible indoor air quality. It also wanted to provide it in the most energy-efficient manner.

A high-efficiency air-to-air energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system to reduce outside air load — the required rate of heat removal from outside air — turned out to be their solution. The ERV system included an energy recovery wheel manufactured by Airxchange.

ERV wheels reduce energy costs by recycling the heating and cooling energy in exhaust air (not the air itself), thereby reducing the load on the HVAC system. This reduction in load not only translates into significant ongoing cost savings, but also allows the downsizing of HVAC equipment, reducing first cost and providing an immediate return on investment. The ERV system installed at the school saved approximately $25,000 in construction costs alone.

The ERV system was paired with a high-efficiency unitary air-conditioning unit on a single plenum curb to minimize internal duct connections and simplify the installation on the roof of the school. The energy recovery wheel was mounted horizontally, keeping the height of the packaged HVAC system to a minimum and preserving the building’s architectural profile.

In effect, the downsizing of the overall HVAC system paid for the ERV system. In addition, thanks to the ERV system, the school estimates it saves approximately $500 every month on its utility bill.


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