TRAVERSE CITY — Making sure school children have warm, healthy air to breathe could translate into big business for a northern Michigan manufacturer.
Traverse City-based Healthy Energy Resources is producing a classroom ventilation unit called Aristotle Air. The company says the ventilators save schools in cold climates up to 30 percent energy costs building-wide by using a unique heat transfer technology, removing heat from already warm air in the classroom and using that heat to warm fresh air brought in from outside the building. Stale air from inside the classroom is vented outside.
Older ventilation units draw in only much colder air from the outside without using heat recovery techniques.
“You are only heating 62-degree air to 70 degrees versus if its minus 20 outside, you are heating minus 20-degree air to 70 degrees,” said company owner Terry Berden.
By law, school classrooms, public and private, are required to have less than 10 parts per million carbon dioxide in the air.
The ventilation units from Healthy Energy Resources were invented by Traverse City-area resident Gerald Sheren and Berden. The units feature an ultraviolet light that kills airborne germs.
“You can also downsize your boilers,” said Berden. “In (one school) we replaced a four million btu boiler with a one million.”
Kalkaska Public Schools started purchasing the new ventilation units about four years ago. Healthy Energy Director of Business Development Donald Belyea said the units are slightly more expensive than older ventilation units but costs are returned through energy savings. A study by the company of energy consumption in Kalkaska said the school system reduced overall energy costs by 30 percent with the new units.
“Our (ventilation) units were old enough where they needed to be replaced,” said Lee Sandy, superintendent for Kalkaska Public Schools. “The (new units) have worked out fine. The company has been very cooperative and it has saved us energy.”