R&D Matching Grant: Weather Responsive Ventilation for Residential Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

Grants and Contracts Details


The purpose of this project is to develop a residential ventilation system that adjusts the amount of fresh air provided to a home based on the weather conditions outside and the indoor air quality. Most of the ventilation we need to maintain adequate indoor air quality comes from air leaking through holes and cracks in the building; however residentiallAQ standards indicate opening windows or a fan is needed to provide adequate ventilation during mild weather. Since many people can't open their windows due to allergies, security, etc. a fan to bring in filtered outdoor air is used. Because a traditional fan supplies a fixed flow rate regardless of the weather, there are significant times of the year that it wastes energy by putting an unnecessary demand on the furnace and air conditioner. A weather responsive ventilation system, on the other hand, can regulate the fan to save energy or even increase the ventilation rate when outdoor conditions are favorable. The research being conducted at the University of Kentucky by associate professor Donald Colliver and Ph.D. graduate student James Bush is important because today's tighter, more energy efficient homes need to optimize mechanical ventilation bringing in fresh outdoor air to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Improving the energy efficiency of the home without addressing the ventilation energy is counterproductive. It is estimated that a continuously running fan cost the average homeowner about 50¢ per day. Eliminating just a quarter of this ventilation could save Kentucky's roughly 1. 7 million housing units over $70 million dollars annually.
Effective start/end date3/1/069/30/07


  • KY Office of Energy Policy: $31,873.00


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