Clients of Grateful Heads, a new hair salon in North Carolina, have more to be grateful for than they might realize. Sure, they leave their appointments with stunning styles, but owners April and Sam Kuhn seek to offer more than beauty to their clients.








Clients experience cuts with connection.

After twenty years as a stylist, April decided to branch off on her own, so the couple searched for property to accommodate their salon dreams. Personal and outgoing, April wanted to use her ability to connect with clients on a grander scale. From experience, she knew many folks look for a personal connection where they can enjoy the visit, not simply have their hair styled. As an owner, setting the ambiance for a friendly place where people know your name put April in control. That social connection is the hallmark of Grateful Heads.

Investing in Indoor Air.

Upon purchasing a residential/commercial property ideal for renovation, Sam began what became a difficult task filing permits and following local leads for contractors. For example, the selection and installation of high-performance ventilation would be key.

Grateful Heads had not opened pre-pandemic, but chemical and particulate issues are a given in a salon during the best of times, so the Kuhns were already seeking optimum indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions. Displacing stale indoor air with enough outdoor air in an efficient, uniform manner is critical for a pleasant breathing experience in a salon. More importantly, proper air exchange is healthier for clients and especially for employees who spend more time in the space.

After struggling to gain permit approvals after contractor consultations, Sam eventually turned to doing his own research on the matter. He decided the space needed the help of an energy recovery ventilator or ERV. Such units bring outdoor air into a building, converting it to a comfortable temperature and humidity level, then expel the indoor air, using its heat energy to facilitate conditioning the incoming air. A high-efficiency model will do exactly that while also lowering energy bills.

 Searching the internet, Sam came upon Building Performance Equipment, Inc. He called CEO and ERV designer, Klas Haglid, P.E., R.A., and the two discussed the IAQ needs of the salon. “One call to BPE, and I was able to get permit approval,” says Sam. “The whole process would have been easier if I had found them first.”

The ventilation requirements for Grateful Heads were based on the salon’s 1478-sq.ft. floor area and North Carolina’s International Mechanical Code (Table 403.3.1). Using a guide of 25 people per 1,000 sq.ft., the space allowed for a population zone of 36.95 people. The total required ventilation air for this capacity is 919.36 cfm. Therefore, Building Performance Equipment, Inc. recommended its BPE-XE-MIR-1000 energy recovery ventilator (ERV) for providing enough outdoor air.

The unit turned out to be exactly what Sam needed after many other readily available makes and models proved too small for the job.









The versatility of an ideal ERV.

Building renovations and retrofits often require versatile solutions. The light, ‘plug-n-play’ units left Sam with no doubt he could have installed the ERV system himself had the permit office not required installation by a contractor. Originally, the Kuhns planned to place the BPE-XE-MIR-1000 unit in the attic, but the eaves were not large enough. Instead, the unit functions just as well in the cellar.

Sam likes how the unit can operate as a standalone or in line with the HVAC as well as its ease of use. He says, “The controls are simple and the whole staff knows how to operate it.” 

Salon stench no more!

Anyone who has experienced a Brazilian blowout or keratin treatment knows the process can smell terrible. The fumes from chemicals that cause the keratin to bind to the hair can also cause headaches, dizziness, and breathing problems. Certainly, the hair technique is the perfect test for superior air exchange.

Staff and clients are extremely surprised with the results. “When the unit is on, there are no remnants of smell, and it happens almost instantaneously,” says Sam.

No chemical stink in a salon? Now, that’s a pleasant beauty treatment experience. It’s the result of a system that exceeds national standards (ASHRAE 62.1) and exhausts chemicals, pathogens, and stale air.



Image: BPE; BPE-XE-MIR-1000

By choosing to renovate their new space with optimal ventilation, the Kuhns not only prepared for a pleasant, healthy environment for their future clients, but they readied themselves as a safer destination during a health crisis few of us saw coming. These are hard times for many. Grateful Heads makes self-care a beautiful, social, enjoyable, and less worrisome experience. 

To contact Grateful Heads, call 724.506.2710. For more information on BPE, Inc., call 201.722.1414.