By 2007, entrepreneur Sal D’Auria had successfully transformed digital video transmission over telephone networks as the CEO of Tut Systems. Having completed the sale of his company to Motorola, Sal was looking for a new challenge.
Sal’s passion for the natural environment led him to establish an organic apple and pear orchard in Oregon’s Hood River Valley. At 2,500 feet of elevation, orchard winters resemble nearby snow-capped Mt. Hood. Being concerned about global warming, yet not wanting to live in a continual chill, D’Auria threw himself into retrofitting the orchard’s 70-year-old farmhouse into a highly energy-efficient home.
His quest for information on the most efficient building techniques drew him to Passive House. Utilizing Passive House principles he created a healthy, comfortable, and energy-efficient home with airtight 14-inch-thick walls, a 24-inch- thick roof, and a residential heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) ensuring continuous ventilation.
Along the way, D’Auria’s curiosity, his interest in physics (in which he holds his undergraduate degree), and his environmentalist ethic led him to recognize that bigger changes were possible that had the potential to make a significant dent in climate change. He says his personal home retrofit felt like “just a drop in the bucket”.
As D’Auria learned more about the building sector’s energy consumption, and experienced the benefit of his own HRV and a small ductless heat pump mini-split system, his entrepreneurial sixth sense suggested an opportunity with huge energy savings potential in commercial buildings.
“Everywhere you look, at retail and office buildings, you see a rooftop unit (RTU) for ventilation, heating, and cooling. Millions of them,” says D’Auria. “Without heat recovery technology, these units are wasting an enormous amount of energy. Separating important ventilation from heating and cooling systems makes so much sense from a thermodynamic perspective.” He also knew that RTUs tend to get replaced every 10 to 15 years. That got him thinking and working.
D’Auria has pulled together an exceptional team to build an ultra efficient rooftop HRV, the Ventacity VS1000 RT. Just as he did with his orchard, D’Auria created an ecosystem of expertise. He brought together mechanical and design engineers, former high-tech colleagues in smart software for control engineering, other experts in commercial building market transformation, and monitoring and testing specialists.
He also searched the world for the best components for the equipment. “In record time, our team brought to North America the most intelligent, high-performance, rooftop HRV in its class,” D’Auria states. “We have brought to market the missing component that can completely transform the HVAC energy footprint of the commercial and multifamily building sector.”
Pilot installations with third-party monitoring have encouraging early results coming in, and the VS1000 RT attained Passive House Institute Certified Component status (in commercial equipment) back in June 2016. “We are on a mission to bring Passive House-pioneered techniques to the commercial building marketplace—both new construction and retrofits—and change the world a little,” D’Auria says.
Beyond designing the VS1000 RT, Ventacity built a larger capacity version: the VS3000 RT and a smaller, ductless option, the VS500 SQ. Integrating intelligent sensors and learning capabilities into the units through the Smart Building Gateway and Ventacity Smart Building Cloud Services, Ventacity created true Smart Ventilation Management systems.
By intelligently sensing building, weather and outdoor conditions, Smart Ventilation Management allows Ventacity’s ultra-efficient HRVs to bring in only the right amount of fresh air required to ensure high indoor air quality is achieved, without sacrificing energy efficiency. Unlike traditional commercial HVAC systems, Smart Ventilation Management offers complete control over a building’s health and energy efficiency.
Learn more about Smart Ventilation Management.