Recently while staying in NewYork City, I found myself on the 31st floor of a building off Fifth Avenue. Peering out of a small window down at rooftops and decks of the few buildings that were not as tall, I was struck by something that really stood out: fans. I’m not talking about ordinary fans, but these really big wheel fans spinning at what appeared to be full speed. I counted 42 of these huge fans operating on the outside of the buildings covering the half block between 5th and 55th streets. It made me wonder whether anyone is working on making such fans more energy-efficient, if not on a way to replace them completely – which made me think of the Dyson commercial showing the fan without moving blades.
Now fans and pumps are estimated to consume about a third of the world’s energy. And while I haven’t done any documentation on this subject myself, I was a bit shocked by how antiquated most of these huge fans seemed. Seeing so many of them in operation within a small area, I couldn’t help but think that there simply has to be a better way to provide cooling for large structures. We have put successful energy-efficiency measures into practice with lighting, batteries and other common technologies, so why not fans? Could Dyson cool a building with a bladeless fan?
With summers getting progressively hotter, I think these are questions that that engineers, entrepreneurs and corporations ought to be in a race to answer.