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Harnessing Heat Recovery: The Future of Energy-Efficient Ventilation

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Harnessing Heat Recovery: The Future of Energy-Efficient Ventilation

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Jan 08, 2024

As housing professionals and builders create homes that meet and exceed future energy efficiency standards, the integration of heat recovery ventilation systems becomes imperative. 

This article explores the importance of harnessing heat to improve energy efficiency.

How does MVHR work?

MVHR is a heat recovery ventilation system that ensures a continuous supply of fresh air while simultaneously recovering and reusing the heat from the outgoing stale air. This ingenious mechanism not only enhances indoor air quality but also contributes significantly to energy conservation.  

This ability to capture and reuse the heat that would otherwise be lost during the ventilation process is one of the key attributes that make MVHR indispensable in the pursuit of energy efficiency.

There are several types of energy-efficient ventilation systems. The main system is MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery). As a key product included in sustainable home construction MVHR is a significant method for harnessing heat recovery.

Good to know

An MVHR system can recover up to 73-95% of the heat to be expelled from a building.

In traditional ventilation systems, the expelled warm air is replaced by cold incoming air, leading to increased energy consumption to heat a building. MVHR, however, intercepts this heat and transfers a substantial portion to the fresh air entering the building. This process minimises the need for additional heating, resulting in significant savings.

Heat recovery and the homes of the future

For professionals and house builders, the integration of MVHR supports the objective of constructing homes that are not only compliant with current standards but are future-proofed against evolving regulations, such as the Future Homes and Building Standard. 

The Future Homes and Building Standard heralds a new era in house construction in terms of energy saving. These UK government standards state that from 2025 new homes must be built with low-carbon heating and high energy efficiency. Achieving these ambitious standards requires a comprehensive approach that extends beyond traditional insulation methods. As this standard sets a higher benchmark for energy efficiency, incorporating MVHR is essential rather than an option.

As technology advances, the adaptability of MVHR systems further strengthens their position as an indispensable component of energy-efficient homes. Smart ventilation controls, integrated with MVHR, enable a level of precision and automation that meets the contemporary demand for intelligent, user-friendly home management systems. 

Indeed, one of the mistakes to avoid when incorporating MVHR in building design is not including smart technology. This integration not only enhances the user experience but also contributes to optimising energy usage.

Another key issue to consider in the incorporation of MVHR is that its design is crucial to the overall efficiency of the building. The routing of the system is essential to maximise energy efficiency. A well-designed, state-of-the-art system will function unnoticed in the background, while a poorly planned one could distract the inhabitants and work out more costly than anticipated.

Heat recovery and Passivhaus standards

As carbon emissions and reducing greenhouse gases climb the environmental agenda housebuilding standards will become more stringent. 

While not currently a UK standard, the German-based Passivhaus concept sets a benchmark for achieving energy efficiency through ventilation and heating recovery. This leads to a reduction in the carbon footprint of the property.

With its rigorous criteria, Passivhaus presents another dimension to the need for energy-efficient ventilation systems. Achieving Passivhaus certification requires meticulous attention to detail in terms of insulation, airtightness, ventilation and overall energy performance. 

In the pursuit of Passivhaus standards, every component of a home's energy consumption is assessed. MVHR fits into this framework, providing a comprehensive solution that addresses the requirements of Passivhaus construction. 

The synergy between Passivhaus principles and MVHR technology is evident in their shared goal of creating homes that are not just energy-efficient but also comfortable and sustainable.

Is MVHR cost-effective?

The advantages of MVHR extend beyond compliance. Building professionals, with a long-term vision, recognise the inherent value of incorporating MVHR as a standard feature of their projects. 

This heat recovery ventilation system is a strategic investment that enhances the marketability of homes, positioning them as forward-thinking, eco-friendly dwellings that meet the growing demand for sustainable living spaces.

The cost-effectiveness of MVHR systems becomes apparent when considering the long-term operational savings. When looking at heat recovery ventilation system pros and cons the initial cost may be perceived as a large financial commitment. However,  the reduction in ongoing energy costs and the potential increase in property value more than justify this upfront expenditure.


The ability of MVHR to harness heat recovery positions it as a key product in the quest for unparalleled energy efficiency. As the industry evolves, embracing MVHR technology not only meets current standards but ensures that homes remain at the forefront of energy-efficient design, meeting the needs of today and anticipating the demands of tomorrow.