Free Running Buildings targets the first cost-effective high-performance passive ventilation system with heat recovery, enabling a radical reduction in the energy, CO2 and cost of achieving legislative requirements for indoor-air-quality.
Adequately ventilating buildings requires fully refreshing the inside-air every 6-10 minutes. To address the huge energy/cost-demands of existing air-conditioning or mechanical ventilators, adoption of wind-tower-based passive ventilation is growing. However, the requirement to constantly/rapidly raise the inlet air temperature in colder weather stimulates a significant space-heating requirement in many markets, which restricts the zero-energy operating window and economic-viability of this approach.
Free Running Buildings aim to find a practical and retrofittable PVHR technology for year-round operation by further developing their core technologies for wind-driven natural ventilation and heat-exchange, targeting a 5-degree-Celsius thermal gain using heat pipes both to capture exhaust energy and pre-heat inlet air: FREEHEAT. Working with the University of Hull’s Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) experts, and leveraging advances in metallic foams to realise a step-change in passive heat-recovery-efficiency and system weight, integrating this technology into their proprietary modular/flat-pack assembly catalyses new retrofit capability.
Seeking to remove all moving parts in thermal recovery, Free Running Buildings approach adopts a bank of highly conductive vertical heat pipes to mediate heat-exchange, using aluminium foams for both the inlet/outlet thermal transfer and building on core aerodynamic IP, the project partners will develop heat-pipe array configurations using computational-fluid-dynamic simulations to reconcile design-conflicts.