Haiku Fuses Smart Ceiling Fans and Connected Thermostats

Amanda Gassé, ERS, for Zondits

Climate control is one of the most popular focal points in today’s connected living space. Big Ass Fans has reentered the scene with a new version of a smart ceiling fan that they debuted two years ago, the Haiku L Series. Haiku’s signature design elements and efficiency are now available at a more accessible price point for those seeking improved comfort while saving energy. Haiku works in tandem with your HVAC system to help maintain your home’s ideal temperature while lowering your energy bill. The ceiling fan retails for $450.

Haiku fans use SenseME technology, invented by Big Ass Fans, which is a series of environmental sensors and an onboard computer engineered to automate the fan’s operation. The sensors use both presence detection and room-specific climate conditions to control its operation. With the L Series, the SenseME technology is pulled out of the fan and relocated to the new Haiku Wall Control unit, which will retail separately for $125. That means that you’ll need to spend a total of $575 in order to enjoy the full benefits of a connected ceiling fan. The price does include integration with partner products, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, Amazon Echo, and the ecobee Smart Thermostat.

 A research team led by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) is going to evaluate how these new Internet-enabled products can improve comfort while reducing energy costs. One of the goals of the research will be to quantify the benefits of “smart” ceiling fans and connected thermostats in order to understand the barriers to adoption for such products. The research team aims to leverage their discoveries to advocate for better codes and standards for fans and smart devices.


Berkeley Center for Environmental Design

A research team led by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) will develop ways to integrate commercially available “smart” ceiling fans and communicating thermostats, and to evaluate how they may improve energy efficiency and comfort in multi-family residential and small commercial buildings.

The California Energy Commission recently approved approximately $1.9 million in funding to support a research team that includes the engineering and energy efficiency consulting firm TRC and technical services firm Association for Energy Affordability. The project will also receive matching funds from CBE industry partners and in-kind support from CBE industry partner Big Ass Solutions.

CBE officials said the study proposal is based on the idea that a generation of new Internet-enabled products can improve customers’ comfort while reducing energy costs. In spite of the opportunities these products offer, uncertainties remain in quantifying these benefits, and understanding barriers to wide adoption of such products.

Researchers hope the UC Berkeley-led project will produce insights into these questions through a series of laboratory tests and field demonstrations, using ceiling fans with controls that respond to the environment and occupants’ preferences, and thermostats that also offer learning and communicating capabilities.

Comfort, efficiency and informed choices

The intelligent fan control system to be tested, branded “SenseME” technology, had been developed by Big Ass Solutions in collaboration with CBE researchers, who conducted thermal comfort tests to identify the combinations of temperature, humidity, and air velocity that would provide the most comfort.

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Image credit: Big Ass Fans