Sometimes, things really do come full circle.
When Airxchange was founded 40 years ago, the Massachusetts-based company set out to develop a product that improved HVAC efficiency while simultaneously allowing building owners to increase ventilation. Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, that longstanding mission is more relevant than ever.
As a provider of energy recovery wheels—the workhorse of an energy recovery ventilator (ERV)—Airxchange has developed a range of products that make it affordable to introduce fresh outside air into a building. That four-decade long focus has garnered loads of attention in recent months as engineers, facility managers and others look for proven, cost-effective ways to improve indoor air quality.
“Now that we understand the importance of well-ventilated buildings, the only reason not to do so is cost and comfort,” says Randall Steele, president and CEO of Airxchange. “Our technology eliminates those obstacles to making fresh air affordable and comfortable. It feels good to have developed products that really do make a difference in people’s lives.”
How it started
Airxchange first came to the market in 1982 with a residential ERV, capable of reducing the cost of ventilation by 80 percent. Several years later they expanded, providing products for commercial, institutional and industrial customers.
The company became the leading provider of energy recovery wheels for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with the development of their famed polymer energy recovery wheel. As the only truly segmented option in the market, it takes up less space, is easier to maintain, clean and repair, and ultimately is more reliable than its metal counterparts.
How it’s going
As the pandemic took hold, the renewed interest in indoor air quality put new eyes on energy recovery ventilation.
For Steele, this was a double-edged sword: Until now, many people ignored the importance of air quality and the role of ventilation inside buildings. It’s unfortunate it took a pandemic to bring this to our attention – something Steele and other experts knew was significant to people’s well-being.
“I’m genuinely hopeful the recent pandemic has highlighted the importance of increased ventilation to the point where we will see a behavioral change in building ventilation design,” Steele says. “For too long it’s been secondary to other factors engineers consider when creating comfortable indoor climates for occupants.”
With an ever-expanding line of energy recovery products, Airxchange continues to grow. Today the company, which makes all its products in the U.S., has 80 employees serving customers worldwide.
“I’m proud to have helped develop a technology that has become an important contributor to energy efficient building design. But I am most proud of the team we’ve built,” Steele says. “When on more than one occasion an employee shares with me that Airxchange has been the best company they have ever worked for, I’d say it doesn’t get any better than that.”