Duo behind 'smart' home ventilation system win Yukon Innovation Prize

Two men behind a prototype for a "smart" controller for heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems in homes are the winners of this year's Yukon Innovation Award.

The $60,000 prize was handed out Monday at Northlight Innovation in Whitehorse.

This year's award recognizes entrepreneurs and inventors who have come up with projects related to green energy. 

Cody Reaume and Thomas Jacquin of Whitehorse started a company called Phylo Technologies. 

Their HRV system, which exchanges indoor air for fresh air, would also sense certain contaminants and ensure dirty air is sent outside. For example, if someone painted inside the house, the sensor would detect a change in air quality and vent accordingly.  

Philippe Morin/CBC

Rheaume said the automated system would save household power because ventilation wouldn't be overused. 

"The problem that we're solving is that ventilation systems currently in people's homes, they just run at a steady state. Usually they run all the time or sometimes people put it on a timer, but there's no actual sensing of whether we need fresh air coming into the home or not," said Rheaume. "So are our product, the goal is to ventilate the just-right amount."

The prize money comes from the Cold Climate Innovation, a research center based at Yukon College, and the territorial department of Economic Development. 

This is the 5th annual Yukon Innovation Award. Each year has a different theme: this year's was "Green Tech" and last year's was "social enterprise." 

Three other projects will receive $10,000 bursaries as well.

Sabrina Clarke's proposed Yukon Wigglers project would build and supply ready-to-use vermicomposting — composting using worms — kits made from recycled materials.

Shane Wolffe's project would use solar air heating "to improve ventilation rates, reduce heating costs, and combat other indoor air-quality issues, including household mold."

Michael Gerasimoff's idea is to use "static cling to remove harmful particles from the smoke emitted from wood-burning appliances."