Energy Recovery Ventilators

Engineers who work with AltaSim Technologies develop solutions more rapidly, at a lower cost, and with greater understanding by leveraging our guidance for implementing Multiphysics simulations. To help see the impact we have for our clients, we have put together a brief case study of a unique solution our simulation experts produced on a recent project.


A client of AltaSim’s needed to develop a new design for an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) to meet LEED standards for green buildings. ERVs are critical for healthy indoor air quality for energy-efficient homes and offices. They enable the exchange of outside, fresh air with indoor air temperature and humidity. On cold days, this requires heating of the air and transfer of moisture. The ERV produces this heat and mass transfer by passing the two air streams on opposite sides of a hydrophilic membrane supported by a metal structure. Designing ERVs represents a multiphysics design challenge for engineers because there are multiple variables to optimize including: airflow, heat flow, vapor transport, and fluid-structure interaction of the ERV. Our client used traditional physical prototypes and struggled to optimize their design across all variables. A redesign effort took one year, cost $500,000 and yielded less than 1% efficiency improvement.


AltaSim developed Multiphysics simulations of our client's ERV design that included: computational fluid dynamics for airflow; heat transfer across the membrane and the metal structure; mass transfer across the membrane; and the interaction of the airflow and the flexible membrane. Our engineers teamed with our client’s internal engineering team to simulate design concepts of interest to our client and identified the best performer for heat and mass transfer.


The simulations enabled our client’s engineers to clearly understand the effects of design variables on performance and select the best-performing candidate. Based on the results of this $45,000 project that lasted nine (9) weeks, our client was able to develop a design that performed three (3) times better than their previous design.

AltaSim partners with companies to provide simulations that increase the knowledge and understanding of our clients’ engineering staff. Through these simulations, we work with our clients to develop actionable plans to solve their engineering challenges. To better understand our simulation services, visit our website for an overview. To contact us directly, please visit our Contact Us page.

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February 2024 Case Study