Humidification Retrofits Deliver Residential Furnace Efficiency

Findings from a recent Minnesota Field Assessment 

Event Date

12/14/2017 1:00:00 PM

Event Location

Live Webinar - Register Here

1:00 - 2:00pm CST

Event Details

Standard efficiency furnaces are robust, long-lived appliances — but they use 15% more natural gas than the current best available technology, and they are still being installed frequently today. They are seldom replaced by high-efficiency units before the point of failure, which implies hundreds of trillions of BTUs in missed energy savings over the next few decades.

To find a new way to increase the efficiency of standard furnaces, researchers looked at  transport membrane humidifier (TMH) technology, which can retrofit the standard older furnaces to make them as or more efficient than new furnaces. TMHs transfer waste heat and water vapor from flue gases into the building air supply. This improves efficiency and occupant comfort by adding humidity to dry winter air. The study tested TMH technology in four cold-climate sites to assess the lifetime energy savings potential for the state of Minnesota.

Join us for a technical overview of the field assessment, measured energy savings, occupant feedback, and evaluation of cost-effectiveness of transport membrane humidifier (TMH) technology. Study findings have the potential to support the development of new utility rebates and program integration and introduce contractors to a new service and value stream. Findings will also inform those looking for cost-effective standards for energy code adoption. 

Learn more about the research on the project page

Who is this Webinar for?

  • Utility conservation program managers (residential)
  • Residential heating contractors
  • Furnace and retrofit manufacturers
  • Residential builders and architects
  • Energy efficiency researchers
  • Code officials and code regulators


Josh Quinnell, Ph. D.
Senior Research Engineer | Center for Energy and Environment
Josh has 12 years research experience in solar energy, heat and mass transfer, and renewable technology development. For the last three years, Josh has worked on building energy efficiency projects including commercial and institutional HVAC duct leakage, condensing boiler efficiency monitoring, optimization of energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems, residential garage contaminant transport, and transport membrane humidifier technology (TMH). Josh is also part of Solar Pathways, a project to identify optimal scenarios that meet the Minnesota’s solar goals.
Prior to CEE, Josh spent time at ZAE Bayern in Munich, Germany, researching thermochemical energy storage cycles for solar and district energy applications. Josh obtained his master’s degree (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

This project supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program.