Case Study: Big Ass Fans Help Architects Reduce Ductwork in LEED Platinum Facility

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The Big Ass Fans look great in the space and their low speed moves a lot of air. If you’re not going to have air ducts you need to be able to circulate the air. The fans allow us to do that. Daniel Stewart, Vice President of RJC Architects

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Problem

Given the assignment of creating an attractive, energy-efficient dining space for San Diego’s 4,000 county employees, the firm of RJC Architects set about designing a structure that would take advantage of the city’s sunny and mild climate. Originally, their idea was to have the whole area open to the outside, but because there was food service involved, that wasn’t in the cards. Air-conditioning was unavoidable; nevertheless, the architects were determined to give the dining area an outdoorsy feel, with high unobstructed ceilings and lots of natural light. Wanting to avoid space-consuming ductwork, they contacted Big Ass Fans.

Solution

The completed building features glazed, day-lit food service areas around a solid core. Architect Daniel Stewart says they were able to eliminate mechanical ductwork in the day-lit areas by bringing the air from punkah diffusers in the core and incorporating Big Ass Fans to provide balanced air distribution across the space. Completed in 2012, the LEED Platinum building was in the vanguard with its use of fans in place of ductwork. “This was the first time we used them in such a high-design way,” Stewart said, “the first time we really tried to push the envelope and integrate them into the whole design.”

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