Ceiling Fans Offer Year-Round Home Comfort
At the VISION House Seattle Cascades, production builder and building science expert CR Herro uses ceiling fans as a unique solution to improve efficiency.
CR Herro, owner of VISION House Seattle Cascades, prioritizes energy efficiency throughout the building process. As both the VP of innovation at Meritage homes and the VP of operations at Bettr Homes, Herro has an unprecedented amount of knowledge and experience in this field.
While not the most common efficiency upgrade, a ceiling fan can make a big difference when it comes to energy savings. From summer to winter, the correct use of a ceiling fan can keep spaces more comfortable and efficient.
Temperature’s Impact on Productivity
Temperature has a direct impact on human productivity. According to a 2006 study, performance increases with temperature until around 21-22 C and starts to decrease at 23-24 C. This leaves a small range with the greatest potential for human productivity.
Ceiling fans can help mitigate temperature without needing to draw on HVAC systems by circulating air to cool occupants and equipment like computers.
The Essence fan is great for both indoor and outdoor use, capable of moving large amounts of air.
Fans bring a welcome cool breeze to hot and muggy summer months. In fact, air movement helps kickstart the body’s natural cooling mechanisms and creates a wind-chill effect as the air passes over our skin. While air movement does not lower the actual temperature, a fan can make us feel up to 6 C cooler.
A fan in the winter? It may sound far-fetched, but a correctly used ceiling fan can help minimize the demand for heating indoor spaces. Stagnant air is stratified, meaning it forms layers based on temperature. Since cooler air is denser while warmer air is lighter, the coldest air falls to the floor while the warm air rises to the ceiling and is eventually lost out the roof, especially with high ceilings.
According to Big Ass Fans, a ceiling fan can create the movement needed to mix air and achieve a homogenous temperature throughout the space. Fans run at low speeds push hot air at the ceiling downwards, providing occupants with warmer, more comfortable air without creating a perceptible draft.
Fans Save Energy
In the winter, HVAC systems work hard to keep the floor level warm. Yet, at the same time, ceilings reach temperatures of 29-52 C. Using a ceiling fan to destratify the air and create uniform temperatures means heaters don’t need to run as frequently to maintain set points. This simple addition can result in up to 30 percent energy savings and 15 percent less wear and tear on HVAC systems.
With the summer temperatures, a ceiling fan allows a homeowner to set the thermostat at 75 F or 76 F while achieving a “feels like” temperature of 72 F. According to Alex Risen, marketing manager at Big Ass Fans, “for each degree you can offset, you can save between 3 and 5 percent on energy costs.”
In addition, fans mix the cool air by the vent with the warmer air by a large window creating complete uniformity, allowing the thermostat to read the actual temperature in the space, not just the temperature by the thermostat.
The i6 fan has a built-in LED light that is color changing and dimmable, and the patented brushless DC motor runs quietly and efficiently.
Fans Strategic Part of High-Performance House
Herro strategically included Big Ass Fans’ products in his new home. “The significant airflow capable in their designs allows for the necessary de-stacking and air distribution necessary for the advanced home design to promote comfort and avoid mechanical energy demand,” he explains.
Herro was drawn to Big Ass Fans’ residential options as the “design of fans perfectly aligns with the contemporary design of the home.” Specifically, the ceiling at VISION House Seattle Cascades will be armed with an Essence fan and four i6 fans. Both fans are built to save energy and create comfortable spaces.
The i6 model includes SenseMe technology which “delivers unrivaled control by combining occupancy detection with ambient air temperature and relative humidity sensors,” notes Alex Risen, marketing manager at Big Ass Fans. Users can select preset comfort settings to provide the right amount of airflow to achieve the desired “feels like” temperature. The technology also includes an automatic shutoff when no one is present in the space to drive energy savings further.
“In addition to being the only true "smart" fan manufacturer, we offer smart app control and the capability to tie into building automation systems for additional efficiencies with radiant heating and cooling among other unique operating designs,” Risen asserts.
Bringing fans to the equation that includes efficient appliances, ICFs walls, and radiant heat flooring adds to the build’s overall goal of efficiency and energy reduction. Herro’s new fans work harmoniously within the system to facilitate optimal performance for the home.