Kohilo* Returns Home

With a warm climate year round and relatively cool nights thanks to the ocean breeze, the state of Hawaii is a perfect place for AirScape Whole House Fans. Not only is the weather ideal, but the cost of electricity is sky high. The average cost for electricity in August 2010 in Hawaii was 28.59 cents per kilowatt hour. Compared to the U.S. Average of 12.02 cents during the same month**, it is obvious that going green by lowering electrical use is not as much a choice as it is a financial necessity for many residents of Hawaii.

Armstrong Builders has partnered with the DHHL (Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) to build affordable green homes in a state where affordable housing is virtually unheard of and utility rates are astronomical. The communities “Kumuhau” and “Lai Opua Village” both include AirScape Kohilo-e Whole House Fans (the Kohilo-e is a special limited edition model using the highly efficient ECM technology designed specifically for Armstrong Builders for use in their projects). Even with the high electrical rate, the fan only costs an average of 5.7 cents an hour on high speed and 1.4 cents an hour on low speed. Compare that to an extremely efficient 2 ton Air Conditioner, which is going to cost 68.5 cents an hour on average, and it’s easy to see why our whole house fans are so beneficial in Hawaii.

As Kaulana H.R. Park, director of DHHL and chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) said, “Reducing living costs is one measure of a sustainable lifestyle and as native Hawaiians, living a sustainable life is what we strive for.”***

We’re glad we can be a part of this move towards greater sustainability in Hawaii.

*Kohilo is Hawaiian for “a gentle breeze”

**For average electrical rates by state, visit the Energy Administration Website.

***DHHL News Release.

Southern California Edison

At long last! Southern California Edison, the only remaining utility company still needing to update their rebate list to include our 2.5 and 4.5 models, has finally done so. Good grief, it took them long enough!  For over 6 months now I have been making at least one, but usually more, pleading calls a week to their rebate center and rebate program manager. I’ve sent more than a dozen emails to them.  I’ve begged anyone over there who would listen to look at the California Energy Commission appliance database and the PG&E website for the required documentation, which are the only requirements listed for SCE to list a new product model.

It wasn’t the rejection that bothered me the most, although 6 months with no response is disheartening to say the least. What bothered me most was when customers would call us, frustrated at receiving a rejection to their rebate application, who had been told by the SCE rebate center that their list was absolutely up to date with no pending items.  No pending items? What do they call over half a year’s worth of unanswered voicemail messages and emails then?

Well, all my bitterness aside, I am happy to announce that the long wait is over.  Every model whole house fan that AirScape manufacturers is now listed on the SCE’s list of qualifying products. SCE qualifying product list

For a list of the other utility companies that offer rebates on our fans, see our rebate page. AirScape rebates

Foam Recycling Program

As a manufacturer of environmentally friendly products, it is always our goal to find new ways to be even more green in our business practices. In January 2009 we decided to implement a foam packaging recycling program to help reduce our environmental impact. Packaging_reduced

In order to ensure that our fans reach customers throughout the country without damage, they require robust polyethylene foam packaging. Polyethylene is a highly elastic and strong plastic that can withstand multiple impacts, making it ideal for shipping heavy objects such as whole house fans. Unfortunately, both the production and disposal of polyethylene, like all plastics, causes serious damage to the environment. In many parts of the country polyethylene foam is difficult if not impossible to recycle, so most of it ends up in a landfill.

The only way to reduce the hazards of plastic is to reduce the production of new plastic products. This is done by both decreasing overall demand and increasing the recycling of plastic. Our program allows us to reduce our need for the production of new polyethylene and also reduce the total amount of plastic being thrown away. We reuse the foam as many times as we can and then we recycle it, ensuring that the foam returned to us does not end up in a landfill.

It is immensely satisfying to us that we have had great customer response to this program. Almost 1 year  into the program and we have an average return rate of 42%, and the numbers are constantly increasing! My personal goal is to achieve a 50% return rate by next Spring, and with the return rates always increasing, I believe we can easily achieve this goal.

We owe a big thank you to all of our customers who have supported this program. We would also like to send out a hearty thanks to UPS, who has kindly begun waiving label printing fees and also begun offering us a discount on our return packages. With the help of UPS, our foam recycling program has been made more financially viable for us to continue in the future.