Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 26

SPECIAL SECTION AHR Show
RenewAire / www.renewaire.com / HQ: Waunakee, Wis. / Employees: 100+ / Specialty: Energy recovery ventilation / Nick Agopian, vice
president of sales and marketing: "The cleanest energy is the energy you don't use."

ing. At a minimum, Agopian says RenewAire's ERV systems can triple the
intake of outdoor air as required by
building code standards, leading to a
healthier environment for anyone who
lives or works within the structure.

Changing Habits

renewaire has installed more
than 200,000 of its erv units
in homes, offices, schools,
hospitals and retail centers.

Breathing Easy

renewaire systems reduce energy use and
increase indoor air quality. by tim o'connor

Most people take it for granted,
but the air quality of their workplace
is a major contributor to their overall health and productivity. A 2015
Harvard study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found
that workers in environments with
low concentrations of volatile organic
compounds and enhanced ventilation
scored twice as well on cognitive performance tests as workers in conventional environments.
The issue of indoor air quality has
only become more pronounced as
energy efficiency building standards
have encouraged builders to design
airtight structures that leak less heat
and conditioned air. Triple-glazed
26

manufacturing-today.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

windows and dense foam insulated
walls may trap heat or cool air, but
they also restrict ventilation, allowing
for more buildup of bioeffluents such
as carbon dioxide.
"What we're not realizing is poor indoor air quality has a negative impact
on the physiology of the human body,"
says Nick Agopian, vice president of
sales and marketing at RenewAire, a
manufacturer of energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems. The company's products are known for reducing
energy use, but the savings realized
also helps builders justify increasing
the amount of ventilation to ensure
pollutants are expelled and more fresh
oxygen gets pumped into the build-

Doug Steege and Chuck Gates founded RenewAire in 1979 as a solar design/build energy-saving business.
The two wanted to promote solar
energy as an environmentally friendly way to supplement a building's
energy use and improve its carbon
footprint, but within a few years they
concluded they could make a bigger
impact on the planet by focusing on
energy demand.
"What they realized was that supplementing the consumption doesn't
change people's habits," Agopian
says. "If you really want to reduce an
individual's environmental footprint,
the best way is to change a person's
habits. Meaning the cleanest energy is
the energy you don't use."
Steege and Gates believed that reducing a building's energy demand
would have a more perpetually positive impact on the environment than
subsidizing bad habits with renewables. So they took aim at the single
largest contributor to a building's energy demand: the HVAC system.
A typical HVAC system absorbs
between 50 and 75 percent of a building's total energy load. Of that, about
half of the HVAC's system energy load
comes from outdoor air treatment.
It's there that Steege and Gates saw
the most potential to reduce a building's energy consumption.
Having identified a market, RenewAire, now majority owned by
Soler & Palau Ventilation Group,
was the first U.S. manufacturer to
develop a line of ERV products built


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 1
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