The Great Residential Ventilation Debate

Most builders, but not all, think mechanical ventilation is necessary for healthy indoor air quality. Even so, there is a lot of controversy regarding residential mechanical ventilation. What does the need for mechanical ventilation have to do with house tightness?  Should we install mechanical ventilation? If so, at what airflow rate? Should we use exhaust-only ventilation or a balanced system? If we install balanced ventilation, should we use an HRV or an ERV? Which mechanical ventilation system is the least expensive to install and operate?

This will be a lively and interactive discussion!


  1. Find out if “build tight, ventilate right” really works.
  2. Learn what the experts know and don’t know about residential ventilation.
  3. Discover which mechanical ventilation systems has the lowest life-cycle cost.
  4. Find out which ventilation system is best for the cold climate of New England.


  • Rick Karg, Residential Energy Dynamics, LLC, Bethel, Maine, moderator
    • Rick has been a member of the ASHRAE 62.2 committee for the last ten years and just completed writing the ASHRAE 62.2-2016 User’s Manual. He is a frequent presenter at national conferences, was inducted into the BPI Hall of Fame in 2016, and received the Phillip Hastings Award from Efficiency Maine last year.
  • Charlie Holly, Ph.D., Residential Energy Dynamics, LLC, Waterville, ME, Panelist
    • Charlie is the lead software designer of RED’s free online tools, including their ASHRAE 62.2.  He was the primary creator of online estimators for annual ventilation operation costs for AirCycler and for Panasonic. Charlie was also the author of the sections of the ASHRAE 62.2-2016 User’s Manual covering Variable Ventilation, and has since contributed to the improvement of these sections in the 62.2 standard.
  • Kurt Johnson, Fresh Air Ventilation Systems, LLC, Lewiston, Maine, panelist
    • Kurt Johnson has been the owner of Fresh Air Ventilation Systems, LLC for the last 10 years. While selling Canadian Modular homes he became aware of the need for a professional air exchange company. He went to Canada and got professional training from Heating Refrigeration Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and earned his certification in Residential Mechanical Ventilation Design and Installation. Over the last 10 years, Fresh Air has sold over 500 air exchangers and installed over 600 systems in stick built, modular, and existing homes. More than 50% of those installs were in existing homes. Kurt has been on Board of Directors of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council for 8 years and has served as the President. He has also attended many building science seminars around the country and has presented both at this conference and the Annual AIQA conference. He also has presented various ventilation seminars for many different groups including Breathe Easy Coalition, MECHIPS, MABEP and the MaineBuilding Officials and Inspectors Association conference.
  • Bo Jespersen, The Breathable Home, Augusta, Maine, panelist
    • Bo is the owner of The Breathable Home, a full service energy auditing and weatherization company in Central Maine. He has been an energy efficiency contractor for the last 10 years specializing in several types of residential insulation, ventilation, moisture solutions and energy auditing, completing upgrades on approximately 100 homes per year, including exhaust only and balanced systems for retrofits and new construction. The Breathable Home has been the recipient of three Efficiency Maine awards for Performance in the Home Energy Savings Program.