More robust ventilation systems may involve an ERV with a dedicated duct distribution system and controls. Such a duct system can be costly to install, and many builders reduce these costs by connecting an ERV to a central heating and cooling duct system. Although this can sometimes be done effectively, researchers have seen consistent challenges with low, inconsistent, or imbalanced flow rates; high electricity consumption; and—of greatest concern—outdoor air short-circuiting or not being delivered to occupied spaces at all. Most ERVs are designed to operate with their own duct system; they are not designed as an add-on to much larger heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

The ventilation-integrated comfort system (VICS) described in this report is expressly designed to integrate with low-capacity, efficient, ducted heating and cooling systems.