Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Case Study: Airport Visitors Have Big Ass Fans to Thank for Tropical Breezes

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We saved a significant amount of money by using fans instead of air conditioning. Big Ass Fans provide very nice ambience and air movement. Rafael Alberto Smith, Director of Landside Operations

The Gist

Problem

The ever-growing number of passengers traveling through Punta Cana was beginning to push the cooling capacity of the airport beyond its limits. More passengers and cramped spaces disrupted the passive, open-air cooling.

Solution

Punta Cana now uses more than 35 Big Ass Fans that produce outstanding airflow in its international terminals.

Results

The fans produce a cooling effect of 10°F (6°C) that keeps passengers comfortable, while also increasing the natural flow of air in and out of the building.

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Big airport, small air circulation

Built in 1984, Punta Cana International Airport has completed its mission to increase tourism in the eastern Dominican Republic. What started as a small upstart airport has grown into the second busiest airport in the Caribbean; every year, Punta Cana serves nearly 6 million passengers in its five terminals. The airport is noted for its authentic Dominican design, featuring a thatched roof covered in palm fronds, natural ventilation and no air-conditioning

Growth calls for an efficient solution

By the early 2000s, the ever-growing number of passengers traveling through Punta Cana was beginning to push the cooling capacity of the airport beyond its limits. More passengers meant more heat, and cramped spaces disrupted the passive, open-air cooling. Newly arrived travelers exited their flights and stepped into a humid environment with oppressive heat. Punta Cana knew that it needed a long-term solution if it wanted to realize continued growth. However, the structure’s thatched roof meant that air conditioning the space was impossible. While replacing the roof with a conventional one was financially feasible, Punta Cana’s leadership didn’t want to lose the airport’s unique charm.

The perfect cooling strategy

Punta Cana began using Big Ass Fans 10 years ago as part of its cooling strategy. According to Rafael Alberto Smith, a Director of Operations for Punta Cana, Big Ass Fans have become a key aspect of the airport’s growth. “When I started, we had 40 check-in desks,” said Smith, “and now we have 110. We’ve been growing, and Big Ass Fans are a very important part of our plans.”

Our commitment to quality and comfort

Punta Cana now uses more than 35 Big Ass Fans in its international terminals. The fans’ outstanding airflow, silent operation and durability have been key in Punta Cana’s choice to return to Big Ass Fans time and time again, Smith said. Big Ass Fans have allowed Punta Cana to remain one of the world’s most unique airports without sacrificing comfort: “We wanted to keep the Punta Cana flavor, and Big Ass Fans fit perfectly with the design of the building. They truly are the best solution for cooling our airport,” Smith said. The fans produce a cooling effect of 10°F (6°C) that keeps passengers comfortable, while also increasing the natural flow of air in and out of the building. Smith also noted the fans’ performance in Terminal A, where Punta Cana receives European flights. “Our European passengers love Big Ass Fans. They provide the comfort they expect, and they love the name,” he said. The majority of Punta Cana’s fans are located in that terminal, where they increase the comfort of passengers in the check-in area, security checkpoint, and the arrival and departure gates.

The future feels cool

Big Ass Fans are also used in the recently-opened Terminal B, where they work with air-conditioning to increase traveler comfort in the check-in area. Unlike Terminal A, Terminal B does not feature a thatched roof. Punta Cana already has plans to expand this new check-in area and add several more Big Ass Fans. As the airport continues to grow, Smith said he has no doubt that Big Ass Fans will continue to provide reliable, energy efficient cooling for years to come.

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