Hot Sports, Cool Solution
Hangar Athletic Xchange in Los Angeles
By Marie Confroy
It's no secret that many Americans are sports-crazed. No matter what time of year, there guarantees to be at least a couple of sports in season. With that type of prevalence, it's no surprise that multipurpose facilities are on the rise across the United States.
Hangar Athletic Xchange (HAX), a blend of high-end sports center and state-of-the-art training facility located in Southern California is one of the newest entrants to the category. It opened its doors to the public in July 2008.
"We actually had people just waiting for it to happen," said Jeff Herdman, CEO of HAX. "It is really one of the only kinds of these facilities in the country."
Built around basketball, the facility boasts six basketball courts, all purchased from the NCAA regional finals and the Final Four basketball tournament that took place this year. In addition to basketball, HAX boasts volleyball, a cardio entertainment room, a weight room, fitness studios and much more.
But with a little more than 75,000 square feet—approximately 45,000 of it being basketball courts—Hangar Athletic Xchange soon realized the need to cool down the building and distribute the air more evenly.
It was quickly decided that cost-wise and logistically, it was impossible to air-condition the courts. The solution was found in a manufacturer of industrial-grade ceiling fans, Kentucky-born and -bred Big Ass Fans.
"We did some research and came across Big Ass Fans at a tradeshow," Herdman said. "It just looked like a great alternative that was extremely energy-efficient."
The company employs high-volume/low-speed (HVLS) fan technology through a unique 10-blade design to produce consistent and uniform air movement, generating a column of air that hits the floor and is projected outward until it comes into contact with an obstruction, such as a wall, partition or column of air from another fan. From there, the air is pushed back upward, toward the ceiling and then back down between the fan blades for yet another cycle throughout the facility.
Although sizable in stature, the fans use only a 1 to 2 horsepower motor to more efficiently move air over large spaces. At the Hangar Athletic Xchange, three 24-foot-diameter fans were installed directly over the basketball courts.
"Everyone is, first off, impressed by the size of them," Herdman said. "But then, when you turn those things up your impression starts to change."
In fact, the fans are so effective, they can be run year-round. By pushing the heat down from the ceiling during winter, they help keep down the cost of heating and gas consumption.
"We plan to be using these fans throughout the year," Herdman explained. "Even though it doesn't get too cold here in the wintertime, we still plan to have them running year round."
The fans even started working for HAX before opening day. Before the facility opened its doors, the fans were employed to circulate air and create a temperate environment for workers. "We had the workers in here, and it was extremely helpful in providing them with cooler working conditions," Herdman said.
Besides being efficient, they also aesthetically tie into the design of the building, making for an attractive workout environment. "People are definitely blown away by the fans," Herdman said. "They just look like huge helicopters." Considering the building was previously an airplane hangar, the fans have become a visually appealing feature.
Performance and appearance are all well and good, but HAX's primary reason for purchasing the fans was heavily influenced by the green initiative. "What really sold us…was cutting down our energy costs and just the performance of the fan in general," Herdman said. "I would recommend the fans to anyone who has a large facility and is looking for an alternative to traditional air conditioning or HVAC."
Additionally, as the fans are used more, HAX has been surprised by the array of unexpected benefits. "When we painted all the floors, we found that cranking up the fans helped them dry at a much quicker pace," Herdman said. "This is saving us both time and money in the process. And, strange as it may seem, we also turned them on the help dry the paint when the ceiling was painted, too."
With its clever air circulation, HAX looks to be an instant star. And speaking of stars, the facility has engaged in partnerships with three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time WNBA champion Lisa Leslie, NBA All-Star and World Champion Paul Pierce, and Hall of Fame coach (and 10-time NCAA champion) John Wooden, just to name a few. But no matter how hot the stars are, and no matter how hot the competition on the court, HAX's customers will have a cool, temperate and comfortable workout environment.
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