Integrating High-Performance Energy Recovery and Heat Pumps to Maximize Efficiency Today and Achieve Carbon Neutrality Tomorrow

Tom McGee, Konvekta USA Inc.

In an environment where the decarbonization of the electric grid is occurring at a historical and increasing rate, designing an energy recovery system that not only maximizes the energy efficiency benefits today, but also sets the stage for carbon neutrality in the future, is an essential element in the stewardship of available resources.

As the carbon footprint of the electric grid decreases, a key to being able to reduce the carbon footprint of lab buildings is an ability to transition away from the use of natural gas as the primary heat source. Although a shift to all-electric heating can be especially challenging in cooler climate zones, the integration of high-performance energy recovery with heat pumps is a solution that can effectively support the transition, while also providing a high level of resiliency and the ability to shift heating fuel sources based on fluctuations in the pricing levels of natural gas vs. electricity. This solution also provides flexibility in avoiding or reducing the need to expend capital resources in the future to replace gas-fired equipment, freeing up those financial resources for other priorities.

This presentation will demonstrate the energy and financial benefits of two all-electric high performance energy recovery system designs with integrated reversible heat pumps, one located in the Southwest (Denver) and the other in the Northeast (Boston), both of which are considered cold climate zones with significant heating requirements.

Learning Objectives

  • How is it possible to create the basis for carbon neutrality in the future, by minimizing or eliminating the need to use natural gas as a fuel source in heating lab space;
  • What are the benefits of integrating enhanced energy recovery with heat pump technology;
  • Why design an energy recovery system that allows for switching of heating fuel sources; and
  • How to implement an exhaust coil frost/defrost strategy to maximize winter latent energy recovery.


As VP of Operations for Konvekta USA, Tom's focus is on the design, development, and optimization of high performance energy recovery systems. He was previously Energy Manager at the University of Denver for nine years, where his responsibilities included all aspects of HVAC and building automation infrastructure. He holds a BSEE from SIU-C.


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