Multifamily Individual Heating and Ventilation Systems, Lawrence, Massachusetts (Fact Sheet)

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


The conversion of an older Massachusetts building into condominiums illustrates a safe, durable, and cost-effective solution for heating and ventilation systems that can potentially benefit millions of multifamily buildings. Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity (MVHfH) partnered with U.S. Department of Energy Building America team Building Science Corporation (BSC) to provide high performanceaffordable housing for 10 families in the retrofit of an existing mass masonry building (a former convent). The original ventilation design for the project was provided by a local engineer and consisted of a single large heat recovery ventilator (HRV) located in a mechanical room in the basement with a centralized duct system providing supply air to the main living space and exhausting stale airfrom the single bathroom in each apartment. This design was deemed to be far too costly to install and operate for several reasons: the large central HRV was oversized and the specified flows to each apartment were much higher than the ASHRAE 62.2 rate; an extensive system of ductwork, smoke and fire dampers, and duct chases were specified; ductwork required a significant area of droppedceilings; and the system lacked individual ventilation control in the apartments
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5500-60185

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-4094


  • air barrier
  • air sealing
  • airtightness
  • BSC
  • budget constrain
  • Building America
  • combined hydronic and space heating system
  • compartmentalization
  • enclosures
  • freeze-thaw
  • hydronic distribution
  • incentives
  • mass masonry building
  • multi-family
  • rebates
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • retrofit
  • roof insulation
  • space conditioning
  • vents
  • wall retrofit
  • water heating
  • window selection


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