- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Facility managers, owners, architects and engineers understand the challenge of equalizing the overall temperature in any facility, especially manufacturing and warehouse buildings with high ceilings. It’s a constant battle for the HVAC system to regulate a large temperature gradient from floor to ceiling; however, Air Pear and Designer Series fans, manufactured by Airius, de-stratify unlike any other product on the market. The Colorado-based company is delivering major energy savings across industries.
The combination of a patented stator system and tapered Venturi design moves air anywhere from 8 to over 100 feet vertically using targeted power to balance temperatures from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, reducing HVAC costs while increasing thermal comfort.
“Air Pear technology can be applied across countless industries from retail to commercial to industrial and government markets, but the grocery and pharmaceutical markets have been some of our biggest arenas,” reveals Christian Avedon, director of sales and marketing for Airius. “Companies start seeing a return on investment [ROI] in just 12 to 30 months, some even sooner depending on the application and climate, but the higher the space, the bigger the bang for the buck.”
Necessity drives ingenuity
While Airius delivers savings and efficiency to a range of facilities, the company and its patented fans are the result of a problem that began at home in Colorado. “Airius’ parent company, Avedon Engineering [Avedon], a plastic injection molding, product development and contract manufacturing company that has been around for 50 years was founded by my father, Ray Avedon,” reveals Christian. “With Avedon’s machine shop in Colorado, the climate presented stratification problems. He always told me, ‘necessity is the mother of invention,’ and this problem was one he struggled with, as did many other companies all over the country.”
After trying a handful of different ways to solve the stratification problem, such as using duct work to harvest hot ceiling air, Ray decided on a different design concept for a fan; not your typical prop fan. “He engineered a compact, jetted directional fan and by early 2000 he had a prototype for the Air Pear, named after its pear-like shape,” recalls Christian. “Once the fans were installed in our machine shop, we quickly gained control of the temperature of the space but also noticed a huge savings in energy consumption.”
The savings were so remarkable that Avedon knew it was onto something. “Ray continued to improve on the prototype and, in 2004, we started selling to competitors within the molding industry and eventually branched out into military, warehousing, grocery stores, schools and gyms and we’ve grown from there,” recounts Christian.
Christian goes on to explain that another contributing factor to the company’s success has been Airius’ motor supplier. “ebm-papst has supplied us with a range of reliable and efficient motors that we now use across all product lines,” he details. “Most recently, we’ve added an ebm-papst electronically commutated [EC] motor to the smallest range of Airius fans to provide even greater efficiency to our customers.”
Airius and Avedon have two facilities and more than 165,000 square feet of production and warehousing space in Longmont, Colo. “We employ approximately 30 people between Airius and Avedon’s production, engineering, tool room and sales and marketing staff,” details Christian.
Furthermore, Airius’ versatility across industries is allowing for global growth. “We have exclusive distributors in the U.K., which handle European and Asian markets,” details Christian. “We also have a distributor in Australia working with New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific.”
Meeting and exceeding stringent requirements
From a temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical warehouse to the cold case aisles and freezers of big-box grocery stores, a typical Airius installation includes a series of units mounted just below the ceiling, evenly spaced throughout the facility, working in concert to improve comfort and reduce HVAC energy consumption.
“The pharmaceutical industry has been a major market for us,” reveals Christian. “In warehouses where they store temperature sensitive drugs, our fans allow for more control from ceiling to floor and wall to wall, maximizing the volume of usable space through balanced temperature so the full cube can be utilized.”
When temperature parameters are strict, Airius delivers. In one case study, a pharmaceutical manufacturer needed to keep space temperatures in a 49,200-square-foot warehouse with a roof height of 25 to 28 feet between 68 degrees and 78 degrees to maximize the shelf life of the product. A simulation of air flow and temperature in the warehouse determined that the HVAC system alone was barely able to hold the tight temperature requirements.
Consultant engineers evaluated several design alternatives, including the addition of fans to increase air circulation within the warehouse. With the decision between Airius fans and those of another manufacturer, the results showed that each type of fan reduced the temperature stratification within the building to plus or minus 1 degree, but the results also indicated that the larger fans generated air velocities so high that it would cause warehouse workers’ paperwork to be blown about.
The smaller, more precise Airius fans delivered much more gentle airflow, causing minimal interference with workers. The engineering firm decided to install 50 Airius fans in the building and the system has now been running for more than 18 months, achieving great climate-control success.
Comfort and savings on the rise
Airius has delivered the same kind of comfort control and energy savings to the grocery market. In Boulder, Colo., Alfalfa’s Market, an organic and natural foods grocer, which opened in 2011, installed 15 Air Pear fans, including two Air Pear suspended ceiling fans for the store’s lower ceilings in the dairy section.
Before Airius, the store director was getting both customer and employee complaints about how cold the store was. Keeping a moderate temperature was a challenge with Alfalfa’s combined three buildings, including a bakery, pizza oven, large café and also frozen food cases, open dairy cases and seafood and meat counters.
After analyzing the store’s layout and HVAC issues, Airius advised Alfalfa’s to install Air Pear Model 25 fans just inside the main entry and nearby checkout lanes. Store managers then concentrated more fans in aisles with produce, frozen foods and open dairy, seafood and meat counters.
In numerous case studies, Airius has proven it can save businesses up to 35 percent or more on energy costs with a typical ROI in just 12 to 30 months. While the Air Pear Thermal Equalizer and the Airius Designer Series are some of the most efficient destratification systems on the market today, Christian says the company is always striving for improvement.
“We’re releasing new products in coming months, moving toward more efficient motors and better blade geometry that reduce noise,” he shares. “We’re excited to attend our sixth Greenbuild Expo to interact with like-minded people and really showcase what we’re all about.”
Airius and its signature Air Pear technology are taking control of the indoor environment and energy savings are on the rise for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
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