Assuming that "northern climate" means that cold is more of a problem
than heat, then its a bit odd, yes. Long time since I had to do any of
this, but the answer used to derive from the heat source. If it involves
any form of flued combustion, then there needs to be a fixed air-intake
vent of at least the same cross-sectional area as the flue, or you start
running out of oxygen if the sealing of the building envelope is too
effective. If there's no combustion then it never used to matter, but
with excessive sealing it would depend on the system. Reverse cycle A/C
includes an amount of air replacement, but a lot less than 15 c.f. /
minute. And it can't measure the number of persons can it?
So probably the question is "how long is a piece of string?". There are
infinite variations for "person". Adults? children? Don't forget the
family dog(s) :-)
It may not be politically correct, but you cannot entirely eliminate user
interaction: "Can you open the window a touch? it's a bit stuffy in here
I don't know about the details, but the conventional solution is to
use a heat exchanger. To heat the cold air coming in, you use the
warm exhaust air going out. There is, or at least used to be, some
ecology place on Cape Cod that knows about such things. Failing
that, there's another such place here in Britain, in mid Wales
somewhere, who might also be able to give advice
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