Facility Profile - July 2009
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Always Cool

Anytime Fitness in Faribault, Minn.

By Nina Wolgelenter

Fitness centers are notorious for fluctuating temperatures. With patrons running half marathons on treadmills, aerobics classes at full capacity and well-intentioned folks standing around contemplating a workout, Chad Larson, manager of Anytime Fitness in Faribault, Minn., knows how hard it is to maintain a comfort level for all. You can't control all variables, but Larson found a quiet, energy-saving solution that allows high humidity, equipment safety and patron comfort to be managed easily.

When you get right down to it, Larson was having trouble circulating air within his 3,500-square-foot facility. "When you get a bunch of people in here doing cardio and sweating and doing group fitness, it gets real muggy," Larson said. "Sometimes it would be so busy the mirrors would actually steam up in here because we didn't have good circulation."

After unsuccessfully toying with his air conditioning during the summer and his economizer during the winter to increase air circulation and maintain steady temperatures, Larson began to look for an alternative solution. What resulted was the installation of an 18-foot Powerfoil fan from Big Ass Fans.

Ranging in size from 6 to 24 feet in diameter, these fans effectively circulate air either in tandem with an HVAC system or on their own, significantly improving the stale, stagnant air conditions that are often prevalent in workout facilities of any size. In addition, constant, steady air movement eliminates condensation and humidity problems, helping to ensure a safer, healthier environment for Anytime Fitness.

The key to the effectiveness of the fans is their ability to move huge volumes of air, providing quiet, gentle, non-disruptive and non-turbulent air movement. Though large and powerful, they are also remarkably energy-efficient because they use very small motors, particularly relative to the volume of air movement they generate.

According to the National Bureau of Standards, energy savings of at least 3 percent can be achieved for each degree the thermostat is lowered during the heating season or raised during the cooling season. If a facility owner using a Big Ass Fan is able to adjust the thermostat several degrees, energy savings can be up to 24 percent or more year-round. Moreover, the cost of operating one of the fans is pennies-per-hour, a negligible amount compared to the extraordinary costs of heating and cooling using conventional HVAC systems.