The Gossamer Wind. series ceiling fans – the first residential ceiling fans specifically designed and engineered to maximize air movement and improve indoor comfort – have sold more than 678,000 units since being commercially marketed in 2001. It is estimated that these fans are saving users more than $12.5 million in energy costs every year.
The fans were developed by Danny Parker, a researcher at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), following a talk he had several years ago with his father-in-law, a long-time airline pilot. They discussed the shape of airplane propellers and how the design differed from that used in conventional ceiling fans, which are very popular in homes and businesses. Parker thought about the conversation during research he was conducting at FSEC on energy-efficient cooling strategies, and he conceived the idea of a unique propeller-like fan blade design. Working with AeroVironment, Inc., a company that specializes in aerodynamic design, and Bart Hibbs, a CalTech physicist who created the propeller for the first human-powered aircraft (the Gossamer Albatross), the concept was turned into an advanced airfoil designed to effortlessly cut through the air with an even load across its length.
The aerodynamic design improves the efficiency of the fan as it reduces aerodynamic drag, noise and wobble. Other features include a smaller fan motor, resulting in a reduction of fan energy use by approximately 40 percent, saving the typical consumer approximately $20 per year in energy use. An advanced remote control varies fan speed with room temperature or turns off the fan based on a timer. Theres even an energy-efficient light kit available that can save up to $100 in reduced energy use over its lifetime. Future models may include controls that turn the fan on and off with room occupancy.
For detailed technical information on the fan as well as reviews and articles on the performance of this popular product, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/bldg/active/bdac/prototype/cfan.htm. In addition to savings from the efficient fan itself, users can realize additional cost savings by raising their thermostat a few degrees in the air-conditioning season, enjoying the same level of comfort but using less air conditioner power. Information on other FSEC buildings research that can save you money while making your home more comfortable is available at www.fsec.ucf.edu/bldg/.
The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, and other energy areas. For more information, call the FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015 or go to www.fsec.ucf.edu.