Role of Energy Recovery Ventilators on the Indoor Airborne Disease Transmission

Gurubalan Annadurai

Department of Energy Science and Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India – 400076
Corresponding Author:

Cite this article

Annadurai, G. (2024). Role of Energy Recovery Ventilators on the Indoor Airborne Disease Transmission. In Proceedings of Energise 2023- Lifestyle, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Action, pp 128–135, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy.


  • Impact of energy recovery ventilators (ERV) on the probability of infection in a multi-room office building is studied
  • ERV slightly increases the probability of infection only in the connected rooms (rooms without infection source)
  • Bypassing ERV increases the probability of infection in both source and connected rooms


Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) are commonly used in HVAC systems to reduce energy consumption. ERVs transfer the energy from the exhaust air and use it to precondition the incoming outdoor ventilation air. According to literature evidence of non-biological contaminant transfer, it is suspected that the bioaerosols (with pathogen) may be transferred from exhaust to ventilation air during energy transfer in ERVs. This may lead to disease transmission indoors. Consequently, without any experimental/field evidence, ERVs are often bypassed in the HVAC systems during pandemic operations. To address this research gap, this study numerically analyzes the effect of ERVs on indoor airborne disease transmission in a multi-room office building. It is identified that the ERV slightly increases the infection risk only in the connected rooms (rooms without the source of infection), whereas bypassing ERV increases the infection risk in both source and connected rooms.


Energy Recovery Ventilator, HVAC System, Pandemic Ventilation, Probability of Infection


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