Wasilla, AK

Case Study: Machetanz Elementary

Heat would get trapped at the ceiling, requiring the boiler system to work harder to keep the space comfortable. Thanks to our Big Ass Fans, the movement of heat throughout the building is almost perfect, Ricky Jensen, Resource Conservation Manager

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Keeping schools comfortable for occupants in the winter can be difficult, but doing so north of Anchorage, Alaska, is a different story altogether. Machetanz Elementary School upped the ante by aiming to become the first LEED® Certified™ school in the state. The multipurpose main atrium took advantage of natural light with large, south-facing windows, but heat could get trapped at the top of the 36-ft (11m) ceilings. Like other schools in the area, Machetanz dropped its thermostat setpoint at night, but it took hours to get the school back up to a comfortable temperature in the morning, which also wasted energy.


A 12-ft (3.6m) diameter Powerfoil® by Big Ass Fans® was installed at the top of the atrium. The fan redistributes the warm air near the ceiling, sending it back to occupant level without creating an uncomfortable draft. The fan and increased air speed also speeds the morning warm-up to only minutes instead of the three to four hours it can take at other schools. The building beat energy-use predictions over the first year, with an estimated $200,000 in annual savings thanks to the green initiatives in place at the school.

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