Introduction of a Cooling-Fan Efficiency Index

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In a warm environment, air movement with elevated velocity is a well-known cooling strategy. The local air movement is typically generated by cooling fans (e.g., ceiling fan, table fans, etc.). Appearance, power input, and price are the main parameters considered today when purchasing cooling fans, while cooling capacity and efficiency of energy use are unknown. To address this knowledge gap, this paper introduces the cooling-fan efficiency (CFE) index, defined as the ratio between the cooling effect (measured with a thermal manikin) generated by the device and its power consumption. The index was determined for a ceiling fan, a desk fan, standing fan, and a tower fan in a real office at three room air temperatures and at different fan speed levels. The results reveal that the index is sensitive enough to identify differences in the performance of the cooling devices. A standard method for testing fan cooling effect and an index for determining fan efficiency, such as the CFE index proposed in this study, need to be developed. The cooling fans generate a nonuniform velocity field around occupants, which cannot be described with a single air-velociry value. Therefore, it is not clear how to apply in practice the recommended elevated velocities in warm environments presented in the present standards. The standards need to be revised.
Original languageEnglish
JournalH V A C & R Research
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1121-1144
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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