Are there places just too big for air conditioning? Are there spaces too tall, too exposed, or simply too architecturally unfit for legacy HVAC systems? You bet! Picture an airport hanger, a dairy barn, or a heavy manufacturing floor. Think about spaces too old or poorly planned to be efficiently cooled with duct work and big box fans. Just about any open space with a minimum ceiling height of 15-feet can host the cost-effective benefits of high volume, low speed (HVLS) fans.
Old School Cool
Employers are not ignorant of the effect of climate discomfort on their workers and their productivity. Most of them make an honest effort to assist employees with hydration and ventilation.
Cooling expert, Jason Hornsby of Louisiana Vector Sales tells a story of an old school manufacturer who brought in 80 pedestal fans to circulate air around the work floor.
“Extension wires were all over the place which posed a tripping hazard. Safety is definitely a factor, not to mention the energy the 80 fans were consuming. Even with all those fans, they’re not cooling everywhere effectively, the workers would move to the left or right and would be out of the air flow.”
New School Cool
HVLS fans move a stack of air the size of a big school bus. In forcing the column of air to the floor, it creates a floor jet to the walls. Strategically placing fans with blades that stretch as much as 24-feet in diameter will outperform almost any number of small high speed fans.
Installation of HVLS fans requires no duct work. Facility owners and managers can do their own electric work or leave it to the distributor’s team. But, you will want to request an analysis of your air traffic, so you can optimize the effect. For instance, as Hornsby points out, the HVLS fans “easily move air around objects that are in the way.” That might include pallet stacks, shelving, and fork lift traffic. So, placement should still be strategic to fit your building’s specific needs and by working with a distributor.
Air will stratify into layers marked by temperature differences. This stratification may be horizontal or vertical depending on building design and natural environment. With garage doors opening and closing, forklifts driving in and out, or open spaces to ventilate an agricultural space, air has a mind of its own.
HVLS fans are driven by low cost, quiet, powerful motors, some of which are managed by powerful onboard technology that integrates their power and speed with existing systems. But, what you feel on your skin is the cooling evaporation that comes from freshened air blowing across you. The fans are powerful enough to alter the physics of the air through de-stratification.
According to Jason Hornsby,
“What you’re actually doing is addressing the root of the problem which is the heat layers that are built up inside your building. If you keep an HVLS fan on overnight or come in and turn it on first thing in the morning before the heat builds up, you’re able to de-stratify those heat layers.”
With the fans running before the summer heat builds up, the fans get and stay ahead of the heat. (In colder weather, you can reverse the fans’ effect and have a heating solution.)
HVLS fans are an ideal solution for any industrial facility that lacks HVAC but needs to maintain reasonable temperatures and reduced humidity. Just like an HVAC system would, HVLS fans reduce humidity and will mitigate safety concerns of sweating slab, employee heat stress, product temperature, and overall comfort levers. All these benefits for a solution that operates for around 31 cents a day, make HVLS a preferred solution for facility managers.
This blog post utilized content from a subject matter expert interview with Jason Hornsby. Hornsby is the owner/ President of Vector Sales and the Regional Sales Rep for MacroAir Fans. An expert with high volume, low speed fans, Jason has spent more than 22 years focused on cooling solutions for industrial facilities that increase employee comfort and decrease energy consumption.