Obvious Ventilation Controls

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HVAC Controls/Programmable Thermostat =
Advanced Comfort Control Technology

Technical Description: 

Homeowners with advanced comfort control technology are able to save energy and money by programming their heaters and air conditioners to drop to a cooler or warmer temperature during consistent periods of the day when the home will be occupied such as when members of the family are at work or school. Homes that use heat pumps for heating can be equipped with programmable thermostats specifically designed for heat pumps with an adaptive-recovery feature that “learns” how long it will take the heat pump to bring the home up to the desired temperature without resorting to a back-up heater and adjusts its start time accordingly. Thermostat manufacturers have various names for this technology such as ramping recovery thermostats, energy recovery management, energy efficient recovery mode, or adaptive intelligence recovery; regardless of the name, they should function to prevent the expensive backup heater from coming on during normal temperature recovery.

Alternate Terms

Energy Saving Comfort Control System
Advanced Comfort Control Technology
Advanced Comfort Control Technology
Sales Message
Advanced comfort control technology allows heating and cooling equipment operation to be set and scheduled for each home. What this means to you is optimum control and efficiency from your comfort system. Wouldn’t you agree advanced control technology should be included in all new homes?


No climate specific information applies.


Ventilation controls can sometimes look like ordinary light switches. Exhaust fan and other ventilation controls should be permanently labeled as such, unless their function is obvious or they are labeled by the manufacturer.

For more on exhaust fans controls, see Continuously Operating Ventilation and Exhaust Fans.

How to Label Ventilation Controls

  1. Clearly label the ventilation controls (exhaust fan switch) or install controllers that are clearly labeled by the manufacturer.

Ventilation control clearly labeled by installer

Figure 1 - The ventilation control is clearly labeled by the installer.  Reference

Figure 2. The ventilation control is clearly indicated by the manufacturer

Figure 2 - The ventilation control is clearly indicated by the manufacturer.  Reference

Ensuring Success

The HERS rater should inspect to ensure that ventilation controls are clearly labeled, unless their function is obvious (for example, a bathroom exhaust fan).


Function of ventilation controls is obvious (e.g., bathroom exhaust fan) or, if not, controls have been labeled

Whole House Ventilation

Function of ventilation controls is obvious (e.g., bathroom exhaust fan) or, if not, controls have been labeled.

  1. Install controls that are differentiated or labeled by the manufacturer.
  2. If function of ventilation controls is not obvious, install permanent labels to indicate the function of the control.



Right and Wrong Images


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CAD Images

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ENERGY STAR Version 3, (Rev. 07)

HVAC System Quality Checklist, Controls. Function of ventilation controls is obvious (e.g., bathroom exhaust fan) or, if not, controls have been labeled.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Exhibit 1: Mandatory Requirements. Certified under ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Version 3.

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Case Studies

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References and Resources*

  1. Author(s): ASHRAE
    Organization(s): ASHRAE
    Publication Date: January, 2013

    Standard defining the roles of and minimum requirements for mechanical and natural ventilation systems and the building envelope intended to provide acceptable indoor air quality in low-rise residential buildings.

  2. Author(s): DOE
    Organization(s): DOE
    Publication Date: April, 2014

    Standard requirements for DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home national program certification.

  3. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: June, 2013

    Standard document containing the rater checklists and national program requirements for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3 (Rev. 7).

Last Updated: 08/15/2013

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