High-volume low-speed (HVLS) fans have come a long way from their dairy barn days.

Less than 20 years ago, the HVLS fan was developed to de-stratify the warm air hovering above and around milking cows (comfortable animals eat less, lowering feed costs). Today, elements of those mass air movement principles are fast becoming a fact of life in aviation hangars, sports facilities, service centers, food and pharmaceutical facilities, manufacturing and distribution centers, and anywhere large-structure comfort and energy conservation are desired.

While HVLS fans today bear many similarities to models of yore, technology has also reinvented HVLS fan performance in many ways. What’s changed? How should recent advances color your specification decisions? What should you look for in an HVLS fan?

Dan Linder, an HVLS fan expert who is now the HVLS Sales Manager for Texas-based Entrematic Fans, a respected HVLS fan maker, says architects, owners, facility managers, engineers, and others who specify building materials should be mindful of several HVLS fan trends.

Tailored Solutions

“The fan has to fit the application,” Linder advises. “It’s not enough to say, ‘I have a budget for five fans.’ Let’s talk about what you want to accomplish. Is it employee comfort? Floor-level condensation control? A consistent temperature? Each requirement implies different HVLS fan configurations. Maybe five fans are too many. Maybe five are not enough.”

Linder says an HVLS fan professional works backward from the business objectives. The needs of an auto service center may be far different than those of an equestrian center, craft brewery taproom, or college lecture hall, for example. These days, top HVLS fan makers build to order because size, voltage requirements and control options are seldom fulfilled with an off-the-shelf product.

Anywhere, Anytime Control

Another area to ask about is control technology. Can the HVLS fan solution – whether it’s a single fan or dozens – be remotely controlled and seamlessly integrated into an existing building management system? The best HVLS fan systems offer those control features.

“Architects and mechanical engineers have different ideas on how to control equipment within the facility,” Linder says. “Working with a HVLS fan partner with the engineering muscle to link HVLS fan control into an existing building control system is important.

Scale to Your Needs

IFAN technology displays graphics that simulate the customer’s facility on web-enabled personal devices, such as a smartphone or tablet. A facility manager can control fans individually, by zone, or by facility and monitor the fans by time settings, temperature settings, or temperature variance – anytime and from anywhere. Interconnection with the fire control system is also available.

Designers should also ask about the tools they may need, including product spec sheets, standard application drawing, and Revit/CAD drawings.

“HVLS fans are a proven, trusted technology,” Linder says. “But it does require a thoughtful, analytical approach to maximize the customers return on investment. Work with a fan manufacturer with the reputation and resources that best serves your business interests.”

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