Lifebreath Heat Recovery Ventilator

 Recently, I went to check out the model at the Nitti Development on the site of the old Elmhurst Hospital.  Wanted to see what was going on with the homes, find a few ideas and just generally poke around.  One of the things that jumped out to me - besides the actual houses(!) - was this system they had set up in the basement.  It is called a Lifebreath Heat Recovery Ventilator.

Check out the description from the little sign they posted on the wall below:
"Fresh air is continuously circulated through a Lifebreath Heat Recovery Ventilator, which draws stale air out of your home while tempering and cleaning fresh incoming air.  The Energy Star-certified system recovers up to 81% of the energy from exhaust air that would otherwise be lost to the outdoors."

So...anyone know what *exactly* that means?  Are these things good ideas?  Mandatory today?  Do you have one in your house?  Should a family install one of these things?

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