End-Use Savings Shapes: Measure Documentation: Add Exhaust Air Heat/Energy Recovery

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This documentation focuses on a single end-use savings shape measure - Add Exhaust Air Heat/Energy Recovery. This measure adds exhaust air energy recovery or heat recovery to existing air handling units (AHU) with outdoor air. Systems that already have energy/heat recovery are not modified. Furthermore, food service building types are also not modified by this measure due to the added complication of integrating cooking hood exhaust that could cause heat exchanger fouling from kitchen exhaust. In total, this measure is applicable airloops serving approximately 70% of the floor area in ComStock. In practice, energy/heat recovery systems are retrofitted to existing air delivery systems either as separate systems that provide outdoor air to the AHUs or are directly integrated to an AHU; the modeling approach used in this study is agnostic of the energy recovery type and simply accounts recovery effectiveness, added static pressure, and other controls which are described further in this document. Energy recovery with sensible and latent exchange gets added in humid climate zones, while heat recovery with sensible-only exchange gets added in drier climate zones. Energy recovery is modeled as a fixed membrane plate counterflow heat exchanger, while heat recovery is modeled as a sensible-only fixed aluminum plate counterflow heat exchanger. Both systems include a bypass (for temperature control and economizer lockout) and electric resistance preheat coil for frost prevention.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-87542


  • building stock modeling
  • commercial buildings
  • ComStock
  • energy recovery
  • heat recovery
  • load profiles


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