Minnesota, known as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” and located on the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, is known for its relatively high humidity in the summer months. But, what many overlook in this part of the country from May through September is the extreme warmth with heat indexes often creeping above the 120-degree mark. Consider this, The National Weather Service has the recorded high temperature as 114-degrees in Minneapolis, which is higher than the record highs for the entire state of Florida located some 1,500 miles southeast.
Another contributing factor to the increasing summer heat in the Twin Cities is the economic and building boom their urban areas have been experiencing in the last decade. This phenomenon has been identified by scientists and meteorologists as the Urban Heat Island (UHI), where a metropolitan area is significantly warmer than it’s surrounding rural areas because of human activity, building materials and asphalt that conduct and radiate heat.
This acute summer heat is exactly what Brandon Reynolds, service manager at Jim Lupient Infiniti in Minneapolis was trying to combat. “The service area of the dealership runs extremely hot in the summer,” Reynolds said. “Between the heat from the car engines, the hot, humid weather and the service area only having one door for vehicles to enter and exit the facility, we were experiencing dead, stagnant air that was just unbearable,” he added.
Two summers ago, temperatures skyrocketed into the upper-90s and technicians working on vehicles were going home early with symptoms of heat exhaustion. “We had to do something to keep our technicians productive, and even more importantly, safe from heat-related injuries and illnesses,” mentioned Reynolds. “The dealership purchased floor fans and provided gallons and gallons of Gatorade for the guys, but at the end of the day, the fans were noisy and simply pushed hot air around and the Gatorade just wasn’t enough.”
After consulting with a Kelley HVLS fan expert, Paul Duwell with Star Equipment, Reynolds elected to install a Kelley FUSION HVLS fan in the service area where there is no HVAC system to ensure a safe and productive work environment for the technicians making repairs and performing routine maintenance on customer’s vehicles. The Kelley HVLS fan is designed to create a comfortable environment while maintaining an energy efficient facility when used in addition to or in this case, in place of an HVAC system. Kelley FUSION fans are available in a large selection of sizes and power configurations that are suitable for a variety of environments. Jim Lupient Infiniti elected to install a 24’ diameter fan. The light-weight, high grade anodized, single piece aluminum blades of the Kelley fan produces a massive column of air that flows down toward the floor and outward in all directions before being pulled back vertically toward the blades to create what is known as a horizontal floor jet. It is this floor jet that produces the circulation that provides the benefits Kelley fans have become known for over the years.
By creating this slow moving breeze at 2 to 3 miles per hour, many facilities have reported a reduction in perceived temperature equivalent to 7 to 11-degrees. And the cooling effectiveness of the fan has really been seen within the service area of this dealership. “I would say we’ve seen a reduction in temperature well above what we were expecting, upward of 15-degrees,” Renyolds said. “Not only does the air movement caused by the fan help to keep the service area cooler, it also forces a lot of the humidity out which really makes a big difference in managing the temperature in the building.”
The Kelley HVLS fan has proven to be a great addition to Jim Lupient Infiniti by increasing employee comfort and providing a more energy efficient cooling option when compared to a full HVAC system for the service area. It has also helped to regulate the facility’s temperature from floor to ceiling avoiding costly temperature changes and shifts. Managing the internal temperature of the building creates the opportunity for energy savings of up to 4 percent per degree change.
And, that’s only half the story, because along with hot, humid summers in Minneapolis come equally extreme winter weather conditions. The area is known for brutal temperatures dipping into the single digits and at times plummeting below zero.. The average snowfall each year in Minneapolis is upward of five feet. “Last winter, which was the first one since having the Kelley fan installed, we discovered even more great benefits after we ran the fan in reverse,” Reynolds said.
The adjustable remote is easy to use and offers speed control with an on/off/reverse switch that makes the Kelley FUSION HVLS fan one of the most user friendly fans to operate. Once the weather starts to change in the winter, Reynold’s team simply has to flip a switch to run the fans in reverse. “This fan is great in the winter as well. We have radiant heating coils located at the ceiling of the service area and running the fan in reverse pushes that heat down toward the floor. Circulating the air keeps a more consistent temperature even with the doors constantly open bringing vehicles into the shop,” said Reynolds.
In addition to helping regulate temperature, which cuts back on energy bills, the Kelley HVLS fan installed at Jim Lupient Infiniti also provides another benefit to help improve working conditions for the technicians. Floor condensation as a result of snow and ice melting off vehicles is minimized, keeping floors drier and safer helps to prevent slips and falls, which in turn, keeps the service team productive, and more importantly, safe.
The Kelley Fusion HVLS fan at Jim Lupient Infiniti was installed to keep technicians comfortable and improve overall air quality within the facility. Thanks to the ingenuity of this fan’s design, Jim Lupient Infiniti is enjoying a litany of additional benefits such as increased productivity, improved safety, as well as energy-savings when used as a supplement to a full HVAC system.