Apr 19, 2022
Bryan has a bit of an industry nerd out with Ross Trethewey from “This Old House” and TE2 Engineering at IBS 2022 (the International Builders’ Show). Ross’s education and career have focused on mechanical engineering, especially with sustainable solutions.
In building science, the key mindset is to think of the building as a system. Using that school of thought, Ross has developed building science and HVAC solutions that also consider indoor air quality and ventilation, such as hybrid VRF systems.
Many of Ross’s solutions take the best aspects of air-source and ground-source heat pumps and apply those to hydronics. Some exciting applications for those types of systems could include simultaneous heating and cooling as well as the integration of domestic hot water.
Demand control ventilation has been used for a long time in the commercial world, but its possible use in residential applications is another exciting thing to consider. With proper control devices, DCV would give us the opportunity to control temperature, humidity, VOCs, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and radon. In residential applications, DCV has to be a delicate balancing act, as bringing in too much outdoor air would require us to condition that air. High latent loads also present challenges to some of the ventilation solutions in development.
Serviceability is another challenge to DCV usage in residential applications; whenever an innovative system is brought to the market, very few people will know how to fix and maintain those systems. One of the possible solutions is to create instruction manuals and give education similar to what already exists for package units. 3D models and animations also help make complicated systems easier to understand.
Ross’s presence on “This Old House” marks the third generation of Tretheweys on the show. Ross is excited to talk about building science and HVAC innovations and concepts while on the show.
Heat pumps are also getting better, especially due to inverter-driven compressors, enhanced vapor injection, advanced control systems, and ECMs. Heat pumps are safer than gas-fired equipment, and we have made them work well in subzero temperatures (because we’re nowhere near absolute zero).
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