February 6, 2007
Toyota's 900,000-sq.-ft. Hebron, Ky., facility is its largest parts distribution center in the world.
Given the size of the facility, the company was forced to overheat during cold months to compensate for the majority of the warm air rising to the ceiling. Monthly utility bills were reaching $40,000.
The company installed 20 high-volume, low-speed fans, 6 to 24 ft. in diameter, from Big Ass Fans.
The fans feature Powerfoil, which uses a patented airfoil, or blade design, and winglet at the tip of each foil to help maximize air movement and minimize energy usage. At winter speeds, a 24-ft.-dia. Powerfoil can cover an area as large as 20,000 sq. ft. while using the same amount of energy as a 60-W light bulb.
Running the fans at slower winter speeds pushes the hot air trapped at the top of the building down to floor level. This destratification of air helped reduce Toyota's natural gas consumption by 87 percent during the heating season, dropping utility bills to $6,000 per month.