By Cynthia Scherr
November 29, 2019 E2E Meeting
One of the most delightful aspects of a Southern Oregon summer is the 35° temperature difference from day to night. Perhaps you’re like me, running around every evening opening windows to let in the cool evening air, then another lap around the house in the morning, closing them before the day heats up. Good exercise, but tiresome after a while.
But what if you could pump out all the hot air at night and replace it with cool, fresh air automatically? That idea occurred to Neil Smith—engineer, inveterate tinkerer, and founder of AirScape Fans, who developed an unmanned ventilation system that efficiently provides better air quality at 1/10th the cost of running air conditioning. Recently Neil gave Southern Oregon E2E a tour of the company’s manufacturing plant and warehouse. Here’s what we learned:
Neil used his expertise in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment to start two companies out of a container in San Jose, California, later moving the company to Medford. Hvacquick.com solved one problem—finding HVAC equipment you can’t get anywhere else. AirScape Fans solves many others—taking advantage of natural cooling, using fresh air, eliminating the dehumidifying effect of AC, and saving electricity costs.
Hvacquick.com carries a vast inventory of supplies all available through their website. Customers find him through searching the web for heating, cooling, ventilation, filtration, hot water systems and recirculation pumps, among other supplies. Inventory is carefully curated and they have the in-house expertise to help customers order the right supplies for the job. With an inventory of over 40,000 products, Neil quips, “you can’t get this stuff at Home Depot.”
AirScape Fans does 100% of its manufacturing and quality control in-house and has an impressive Air Lab to ensure that its products meet all calibration standards. The company has expanded into commercial cooling solutions that can slash a company’s electricity bill and create a more comfortable work environment. Want a custom grille or register for your system? The company can do custom designs that are function-specific or decorative.
During the tour, members of E2E asked several questions.
Q: How much less electricity does a whole-house fan use compared to AC?
A: 90% less
Q: How many days would I still need AC if I have a whole-house fan?
A: After a retrofit, you would likely go from 12 weeks of needing AC to just 8-10 days during the summer.
Q: Can the fan clear out the smell of burned toast?
A: You bet. It eliminates evidence of kitchen disasters fast.
Neil Smith and his team embrace so many elements of cool. From cooling residential and commercial spaces, to custom metal cutting and pressing, to creating environmentally friendly packing material. To eliminate the cost and waste of bubble wrap, they turn recycled cardboard into cushioning packing material. The company sees opportunity in what is already there, using it with greater purpose and efficiency.
The Southern Oregon Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur Network is a non-formal group of Entrepreneurs that gather once a month to meet and learn about each others businesses in Southern Oregon. Find out more at soe2e.com.
Cynthia Scherr has over 20 years of experience working with businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations. She also co-founded the Southern Oregon E2E network.