Canadians fuel research into lower cost HRVs

TORONTO, ON, Canada — New technology aimed at improving energy efficiencies is the goal of a new investment by the government of Canada with a half-dozen industry partners.

The Advanced Integrated Mech-anical Systems (AIMS) project is a joint industry-government initiative to help manufacturers develop products and market infrastructure.

Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, puts it bluntly: “These products could revolutionize residential heating and ventilation in the years ahead.”

Environment Minister David Anderson, in addressing the press here at the “Canadian Mechanicals Expo” (CMX) March 23, said he expects that, through AIMS, Canadians will be able to reduce hvac and water heating emissions by 25%. “They will also have reduced costs, a comfortable living environment, and improved indoor air quality.”

One of those industry partners is Nu-Air Ventilation Systems Inc., Nova Scotia. Brian Gibbon of Nu-Air said the company has been manufacturing heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) for 15 years, back when this was pretty much a pioneering effort.

Today, he said, HRVs “are well accepted, especially in Atlantic Canada and Ontario.”

Building codes and regulations require increased ventilation, he said, but many are meeting the requirements with a simple exhaust fan. The typical installed cost of an HRV in a 2,000-sq-ft home is around $1,500 to $2,000 (Canadian) to the homeowner, he said, depending on how it is vented. For wider acceptance, this cost will have to be cut in half — something Gibbon thinks could happen in five years or so.

Four Ontario manufacturers are part of the team: Ecologix Heating Technologies Inc.; Olsen Technology Inc.; Tirino Corp.; and the Vebteek, Fleetline, Nutech Alliance. The other two are from Nova Scotia: Kerr Heating Products and Nu-Air Ventilation.

Over the next year, these manufacturers will develop and test systems, followed by laboratory and field trials.

A quick look at fireplace venting

Canadians love their fireplaces. Twenty-seven companies exhibited under “fireplaces, accessories” at the CMX show. A study conducted by the Carbon Monoxide Safety Association found that almost half of the respondents have some form of a wood-burning fireplace in their home.

One noteworthy product seen at CMX was the Excel Chimney (St. Jerome, PQ) by the company of the same name. The Excel has a soft, flexible “Thermoplus” blanket insulation said to be “absolutely, positively fire-safe.”

According to the company, the Excel Chimney is certified to the Canadian 30-minute chimney fire standard, three times longer than the U.S. standard.

The inner chimney heats up quickly and stays hot to keep creosote from condensing on it and building up, according to the company. The insulation also keeps the heat from building up on the outside casing.

Continuous seam welding eliminates the weaker lock seam design, and also keeps moisture from entering the chimney through the seams. Nor are end caps required. End caps can keep the chimney from expanding and contracting at the joints, and also conduct heat from the flue to the outside casing.

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