Canada's Condominium Magazine
Ceiling fans are often recommended as a way to save on energy while staying cool in the hot summer. They operate with a fraction of the energy needed for air conditioning, and they create a pleasant movement of air in a room that can be as soothing as a tropical breeze. Unfortunately, most of the fans that are commercially available are, in our humble opinion, ugly. They’re big, they rattle and shake, and they seem to have been designed by aircraft mechanics.
Now we’re happy to report there’s a ceiling fan that changes all of that. The Haiku, from Big Ass Fans, is not only lovely to look at, but it is super efficient with energy. GreenSource Magazine and BuildingGreen named it one of the Top Ten Green Building Products of 2013, and Energy Star named it the most efficient ceiling fan in the world. According to its makers, the average ceiling fan runs on 90–110 W of electricity, and the average Energy Star ceiling fan runs on 65 W; the Haiku, however, uses just 2 to 30 W, exceeding Energy Star requirements by 450–750 per cent. It would cost “around $5” to run a Haiku in a “typical year.” Haiku is also a winner of the prestigious Red Dot award for design.
But, important as that is, most people wouldn’t buy a product that would occupy a position of such high visibility in their home based solely on its green credentials. It has to look good as well. And this is where Haiku really excels. The three blades—airfoils, to be more correct—are handcrafted from Moso bamboo. This renewable resource grows in China to a height of 70 feet in just half a dozen years, and has the tensile strength of steel, according to Big Ass Fans. Technicians shape the bamboo into airfoils, each one consisting of five layers of bamboo, sanded and finished to perfection. Then the airfoils are sorted by weight to achieve the best balance. The balance is “perfected” through a 13-step process, Big Ass Fans says, with every fan individually balanced so that customers will never need to rebalance them once assembled.
The motor that drives the Haiku is different too. Whereas other ceiling fans use the conventional AC type of motor, which generates a lot of heat, which in turn needs to be ventilated, the Haiku runs on a patent-pending direct current or DC motor. The design of the motor allows the motor assembly to be sleek to the point of invisibility. It operates silently and delivers that super efficiency already mentioned. No chains to pull, no chunky lights hanging down, and no wonky wobble when the blades turn.
The latest model Haiku has integrated LED lights. But these elegant fans are not cheap. A more or less basic model will cost you around $1,000. No matter how energy-efficient the fan, it will take a lot of years to repay that purchase price.