The Energy Saving Potential of Membrane-Based Enthalpy Recovery in Vav Systems for Commercial Office Buildings

Publication Type

Conference Paper



A design tool to evaluate the heat and mass transfer effectiveness and pressure drop of a membrane-based enthalpy exchanger was developed and then used to optimize the configuration of an enthalpy exchanger for minimum pressure drop and maximum heat recovery effectiveness. Simulation was used in a parametric study to investigate the energy saving potential of the enthalpy recovery system. The case without energy recovery and air side economizer was used as a baseline. Two comparison cases for the implementation of enthalpy recovery with and without air side economizer were simulated in EnergyPlus. A case using a desiccant wheel for energy recovery was also investigated for comparison purposes. The simulation results show significant energy saving benefits from applying a low pressure drop, high effectiveness enthalpy exchanger in two US cities representing a range of humid climates. The sensitivity of the energy savings potential to pressure drop and heat and mass transfer effectivenesses is also presented.


SimBuild 2012 IBPSA Conference

Year of Publication



Research Areas

Related Files