Now Introducing… Solar-powered Whole House Fans!

Not really. The headline above is a little tongue-in-cheek. Readers of this blog will know our fans are designed to be run at night, when cool outdoor temperatures can be drawn indoors. Since photovoltaic cells can’t generate electricity at night, directly powering a whole house fan with solar generated electricity isn’t possible—unless, of course, one wants to run their fan during the day, which would heat the home rather than cool it!

We do, however, frequently receive calls from homeowners wanting to know if they can run a whole house fan directly off of their home solar array. We wish they could. Because they’re a more efficient substitute for mechanical air conditioning, whole house fans greatly compliment solar by reducing the size of array needed to provide the same cooling. But again, photovoltaics don’t work at night.

To operate a whole house fan with electricity generated by a solar array, homeowners need some sort of energy storage device that would allow them to store electricity they generate but do not use during the day. Then, this stored electricity could be drawn down through the night to power the whole house fan.

In short, they need a battery—which is why we’ve followed Tesla’s recent announcement of their new Powerwall home battery system with great interest. Home battery systems have been available for some time now. But they have never been as prominent in the popular discourse as they are now, makings this the ideal moment for a blog post “back of the envelope” analysis about using a home battery to operate an AirScape fan.

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XR High Insulation Model Whole House Fans

Starting in July 2014 we are offering R-49 insulation on our AirScape line whole house fans (R-47 on the 1.7 WHF).  These will be separate part numbers (-XR designation) from our standard units.  R-49/R-47 insulation will not be available on Kohilo fans.

How do we get R-49 into the doors?  A combination of standard fiberglass insulation and VIP panel (vacuum insulation panel) technology. VIP is a relatively new technology that offers an R–Value (thermal resistance) up to ten times greater than commonly used forms of insulation, such as Styrofoam and six times greater than polyurethane. The chart below gives us a visual comparison of VIP panel R values vs. other common insulation on a per inch thickness basis. (image courtesy of ThermoCor)

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Why not R-49 on Kohilo fans? VIP insulation is relatively heavy and necessitates mechanical actuators to open and close these insulated doors.  Gravity dampers used on Kohilos, and a few other fan manufacturers, are not able to handle the added weight of insulation.

If you would like to read more on VIPs, check out the manufacturer’s website:  www.thermocorvip.com

Responsible Manufacturing

Carbon Dioxide emissions are in the news again as we experience more violent weather in 2014 and a drought in the west.

We know our customers care about reducing energy consumption and the corresponding Carbon emission reduction.  So when time came to upgrade our production machinery and assembly lines we made sure we choose equipment that has the lowest energy footprint possible.  For example our high speed CNC punch is an AC servo motor driven turret which uses less than half the energy of a typical hydraulic machine and a 1/3 of the energy use of a machine of 15 years ago.

In addition, we made the conscious choice to supply the energy required to produce our whole house fans from renewable sources. Today, our on-site Solar PV array provides all the energy required to power our cutting and punching equipment as well as a significant portion of our assembly line.

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Did you know an AirScape whole house fan could be your best energy savings investment?  Read on: http://airscapefans.com/learn-about/energy-savings.php

Winter Fan Use

Over the past few years we have received a lot of feedback from customers regarding the performance and energy efficiency of our fans during the hot summer months. The only thing lacking is how to use the fan year round. To assist with this we offer the SI (seasonal insulation) kit to help increase the R value of our unit. Lately we have been exploring the idea of getting some use from the fan during the winter. The concept of moving outside temperature air through your home doesn’t have to be limited to cool summer nights. The same technology that can cool your home can also be used to bring heat into your home. Some climates can become warm enough during the day to allow for the air to be brought inside and ultimately warm the house. Using the unit the same way you would at night for cooling during summer, in winter, the unit can be turned on when the temperature outside the home gets at or above the desired temperature inside the home. Creating these air exchanges during the day will help in warming the insulation, foundation, etc. which would otherwise have to be heated by your existing heating system. We want you to get the most out of your Airscape fan, and tips like these really help save money during this time of the year.

http://www.hvacquick.com/products/residential/Grilles-Registers/Access-Doors

For further questions please contact Jeremy Batham, Airscape Technical Support 866-448-4187