Nothing Moves Air Like a Big ASS Fan

Contrary to what the legions of salaciously-inclined internet habitués might expect from such a name, the evocative Big Ass Fans refers not to that crucial anatomy for which a certain Sir Mix-A-Lot has expressed a crucial affection, but rather to the Lexington, Kentucky company’s official mascot and logo—a posteriorly-oriented donkey.

Isis. Manufactured by Big Ass Fans.

So, sure, the marketing folks at Big ASS have taken advantage of the double (or triple) entendre, but with a product whose surpassing size (up to 24 feet in diameter) and innovative technology (10 airfoils vs. the traditional 4-6) is re-inventing the industry, they can be forgiven for having a bit of fun, especially if—as the parable says—the shoe fits. And fit it does, for I’m hard pressed to imagine a better response on witnessing an installation of their flagship Powerfoil X than, “Holy S___, that’s a Big Ass Fan!” The company and the product arrive on the scene at a fortuitous moment, as re-visiting and updating vintage processes for heating and cooling (see Attika Wood Fireplace) are on the rise. The design philosophy of Big Ass is deceptively simple: “the highest quality, highest engineered High Volume/Low Speed (HVLS) fans on the planet, Big ASS Fans move a lot of air with size, not speed. Moving at a low speed means less energy used for operation, which translates into more energy saving for you.” The focus is thus on the technology of the airfoil, which Big ASS’s engineers have revolutionized through their patented “winglet” design, thus increasing efficiency by eliminating drag at the tips. The HVLS operation also makes better use of our bodies’ natural cooling apparatus—a slow, gentle breeze “increases the rate at which perspiration is evaporated from the skin’s surface… in some cases, making the surrounding area feel between 8 – 16ºF cooler.” This translates into lower AC costs and more efficient cooling, a boon for any environment but especially the frequently stifling environs of industrial warehouses and the like.


Powerfoil X. Manufactured by Big Ass Fans.


Powerfoil X. Manufactured by Big Ass Fans.


Element. Manufactured by Big Ass Fans.


Element. Manufactured by Big Ass Fans.


Element at Hot Italian restaurant in Sacramento. Manufactured by Big Ass Fans.

Nor are Big ASS fans restricted to cooling environments. As anyone who’s attempted to heat with a single-fixed source (like a central wood stove) will know, the key to success is circulating said heat, otherwise it just remains trapped at the ceiling. Big ASS addresses this by “gently driving hot air trapped at the ceiling down to the floor… reducing your heating bills 25% or more.” They also present a nifty roster of smart options that increase the sustainability quotient: 10 year warranties on motors and gearboxes (the advanced hub wheel assembly and nitrogen-filled drive box make premature failure unlikely); wall-mounted keypad for precision control; onboard electronics for easy installation and servicing; silent operation; and integrated features like lights, cameras, and smoke detectors.

And lest you think that Big ASS’s voluminous airfoils work for industrial applications only, they’ve recently introduced a pair of “architectural” models: “Isis,” a lightweight number at 100 pounds and 8, 9, or 10 foot diameter, works well for lower ceilings and smaller commercial spaces (they suggest restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and compact fitness centers); and Element,” at 12 ft., works well for slightly larger spaces like Andrea Lepore’s Hot Italian restaurant in Sacramento, the city’s first LEED certified eatery. An integral component of Lepore’s sustainable project, Element helped her achieve the goal of an eco-friendly, comfortable, and relaxing environment.

In addition to re-inventing the technology for moving air around large spaces, the company’s industry-wide innovations have allowed me the somewhat silly if apropos indulgence of an especially “colorful” closing: Thanks Big ASS!

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