In 2003, Xcel Energy of Colorado paid a visit to the Longmont headquarters of Avedon Engineering, a custom manufacturer of injection-molded plastics. Xcel technicians wanted to confirm that their client's 165,000-square-foot facility was, in fact, still open for business and to personally inspect the functionality of the company's gas meter. Something had to explain a 42 percent drop in Avedon's natural gas consumption over a five-month period.
The answer could be found overhead in the form of funnel-shaped plastic appliances tucked among the facility's rafters. Avedon engineers, aware every time an overhead lighting fixture required maintenance that air temperatures at the mezzanine level were a good 20 degrees warmer than those on the manufacturing floor, had gotten an idea. They developed an appliance with internal impellers to create a small jet stream that penetrates and stirs surrounding air to within a top-to-bottom tolerance of three degrees, all the while running on less than 400 watts. The Xcel Energy inquiry served only to confirm their success. "At that point, we realized we had something that had value," says C. Scott Canby, who handles project management for Avedon offshoot Airius®, maker of what has come to be known as the Air Pear Thermal Equalizer.
Dozens of Air Pears (each unit resembles a piece of the fruit, only upside down) are now hanging in the rafters of the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, for example, as well as in indoor athletics, fitness and recreation facilities around the country. The higher the ceiling, the more air destratification makes economic and environmental sense.
Since our serendipitous discovery of a solution to destratification, Airius has grown from an offshoot of Avedon Engineering to its biggest customer. The Airius sales, marketing, and operations teams took over the second floor of Avedon's machining and mold-making tool room, across the street from the plastics, assembly, and warehousing operations. Today, we design, manufacture, assemble, and sell over 450 SKUs of Airius units, from the original Air Pear to specialty units like our Retail Series. And, while the original Air Pear only came in one size, the perfect size for our own building, we now offer a range of fans that fit buildings with ceilings from 8 ft. to over 100 ft. tall.