Build Equinox tech named one of coolest things made in Illinois
The CERV2, developed by MechSE alumni Ben Newell (BSME ’02, MBA ’08) and Alex Long (BSME ’08), and MechSE Professor Emeritus Ty Newell, was recently voted one of the “top 16 coolest things made in Illinois” by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association in their first annual Makers Madness competition. Over 260 products were nominated in this competition and nearly 300,000 votes were cast over the course of five weeks to determine the winners.
The CERV2 is the first smart residential ventilation systems produced by the company Build Equinox, a solar-powered (net-zero) business of which the Newells and Long are co-founders. The company, a, was formed as part of Newell Instruments, focuses on home occupant health and well-being, along with providing more analytics about air quality and other factors that affect consumers’ health on a given day, such as temperature, humidity, and allergen counts, aiming to improve quality of life.
Unlike traditional ventilation systems, such as Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) and Energy/Enthalpy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs), the CERV2 incorporates carbon dioxide and total volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors that allow the system to know when to bring in fresh air when air pollutants exceed the selected air quality preference.
The technology has earned other recent accolades. A CERV2 home in the 2019 Solar Decathlon Africa, held in Morocco, won the competition in October, and “Acorn Glade,” a CERV2 home in Downers Grove, Illinois, received the award for Best Single Family and Source Zero Project at the North American Passive House Conference in December.
Ty Newell believes that the CERV2 was recognized due to Build Equinox’s mission of improving consumer’s health and well-being.
“We have a lot of folks who follow our technology and believe in our mission. Even though we are a tiny company and are in the early adopter stage, our customers and followers are an enthusiastic crowd that understand the importance of our message and our sincere interest in improving the indoor environment. People are hungry for answers for living healthy, comfortable lives in a sustainable manner,” he said.