In this paper, a comprehensive review on building applications of heat recovery systems is presented. The review is given as a clear and understandable summary of the previous works. The review covers detailed description of heat recovery systems with working principle and system components, current typical heat recovery technologies including the building applications, theoretical, experimental and simulation works carried out for different heat recovery technologies and findings from thermodynamic performance assessment. Moreover, environmental impacts of heat recovery systems are evaluated. Future scenarios for heat recovery technologies including some recommendations are also considered in the study. It is concluded from the results that the heat recovery systems are very promising to mitigate the fuel consumption amounts of buildings. Therefore, they can remarkably contribute in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.