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This proposal was moved to: Buildings Workspace 2021
This proposal was reopened in Helping Small and Medium Businesses Go Low Carbon 2018


Energy efficient - sensor activated - electrical heating, cooling, air quality control and more - via Universal Ceiling Fan.



This proposal is for a climate control system as well as air quality and other features using electrical power and providing a more desirable ambiance than the traditional heating and cooling systems as a way to attract users to switch to electric power to move away from fossil fuels.

Even if at the present time heating with oil and gas is cheaper than with electricity the proposed model provides a superior service that is safer and healthier, with electronic optimizations to minimize energy use  - and in the long term would become cheaper as the cost of renewable energy keeps dropping.

For new construction the proposed model is superior to oil and gas because it requires less labor and materials as electricity is already part of the requirement - so rather than adding oil or gas heating the developer uses the electric infrastructure.


How do you know that your solution is desirable to SMEs, and will reduce GHG emissions?

The Universal Ceiling Fan (UCF) is desirable to consumers by being a superior product to conventional HVAC as it provides optimal levels of humidity and air purification; such features are not  available as part of a sensor driven all inclusive climate control system.

The UCF consumes less energy as it is activated by sensors only when needed - i.e. when sensing movement within its range. the existing HVAC models lack the efficiency to save energy in areas where climate control is not necessary at a given time.

The proposed model also saves a great deal of space as it does not require oil or gas tanks.

The UCF model is highly attractive for new construction where the implementation of gas pipes would be more expensive,

The Multi-Purpose Ceiling fan that provides comprehensive climate control and ambient air via features listed below:
-    Heating 
-    Cooling and air conditioning  - With compressor, or any other methods
-    Humidifier – through the blades of the fan or through housing mounted on the ceiling or both
-    Dehumidifier - through the blades of the fan or through housing mounted on the ceiling
-    Air purifier - through the blades of the fan or through housing mounted on the ceiling – ideally with self cleaning filters

- Fire Sprinklers - Given that they are required in new construction the current model takes advantage of the water pipe it needs 

-    Sensor for movement in a room – to program switch into “sleep mode” when no one is in a room, as a way of saving energy
-    Sensor for air quality including mold measurements
-    alarm for fire and gases

The above features provide superior outcome for air quality and safety than the alternatives - at an equal or lower cost in the case of new construction.

Thanks to the efficient use of sensors there is reason to believe that the UCF would reduce the energy bills even when compared to natural gas. HVAC models are activated by timers and always heat or cool an entire building regardless of whether only half or a quarter of the building needs it.

With the demand created from projects such as the one listed above, there will be a strong incentive for private corporations to develop and produce the universal ceiling fan and market it as a healthier model by providing superior ambiance while saving the space required by gas tanks and bulky units for cooling as well as extensive shafts to push heat from the gas tank throughout the house or building.

Having a Universal Ceiling Fan in every room saves the "shaft travel distance" of the natural gas model and provides a degree of energy efficiency. 


There are two powerful factors that indicate a likely shift to this model:

1) Health - awareness of the importance of air quality (including detectors for mold, and various toxicities) 

2) Low energy usage via sensors - only activating when needed (also eliminating the need for complex programming)


What actions do you propose?

Large companies looking to reduce their energy bills can publish requests for proposals that meet the guideline suggested in the Universal Ceiling Fan model

Creating a Universal Ceiling Fan that has features superior to the traditional heating that uses natural gas and standard air conditioning can bring consumers to opt for an electrical model to supply their heating needs.

The term Universal Ceiling Fan is appropriate as it meets the needs for asthma and allergy sufferers by providing cleaner and more ambient air while satisfying the rest of the population.  

In addition to heating and cooling, the ceiling fan in the image below satisfies a spectrum of needs for ambiance serving as air purifier, humidifier and dehumidifier. It also serves as fire sprinkler.  

The circular attachment at the bottom of the ceiling fan represents one of many variations to provide heating. The heating coil would be covered in protective exterior to avoid the risk of burns.

Many alternate methods can be considered to have the heating embedded in  the Universal Ceiling Fan from having the heating coils as part of the blades - as can be seen in the image - or having compressor heat in the area of the housing and motor. And alternatively in the exterior of the room  as seen in the image below. The essential accomplishment is the migration to a model that works efficiently with electric power while providing higher satisfaction than fossil fuels.

With prices for renewable energy dropping at an increasing rate there is a need to provide usage for the electrical power that is supplied to the grid. In recent times, some states such as California had difficulty selling surplus energy. Thus the Universal Ceiling Fan can become an attractive model to move away from natural gas. Interestingly enough Two-thirds of California households use natural gas for home heating according to the following government source:

Who will take these actions?

In addition to corporations looking to lower their energy bills, large real estate development projects can also publish RFPs, Similarly government entities that have extensive buildings, and develop public housing projects can encourage bids for that provide a Universal Ceiling Fan in every room/area that includes

- fire sprinklers as

- air conditioning

- heating  

- humidifier

- dehumidifier

- air purifier

The requirements would cover the needs for occupants that have asthma and various allergies.

Where will these actions be taken?

Initially in government funded projects as well as high end construction. Once the price drops it is likely that the UCF will become a standard for all new construction and possibly replace the HVAC model.

What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Depending on the design model and use of technologies the costs can vary. A basic model as a proof of concept - actually servicing  an existing home can be accomplished within the $250k - though it may not have the fire sprinklers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and other features.  However the proof of concept for heating and cooling with sensors activating only when necessary can be accomplished within the $250k budget and with the help of graduate students.



Once the solution is built and implemented describe a path forward for it to scale to other users/companies.

Once the technology is matured consumers will be able to order Universal Ceiling Fans (UCF) much in the same way as ordering a regular fan - but with the addition of services needed to implement the most advance versions which will need to be connected to water to provide humidity control and fire sprinkler as well as have an air shaft to the outside for each UCF


How will your solution lead to change on a larger scale over time (i.e. 3 to 5 years out)? How many businesses can potentially be affected by your solution?


The Universal Ceiling Fan (UCF) is likely to become what the current HVAC model is in comparison with coal heating. The energy savings and the health factors significantly improved by the UCF will likely have a historical impact on how we control air quality and temperature.

It's difficult to predict how quickly the change will take place 

In an optimistic scenario - the UCF can become mass produced in about 2-3 years - and with the drop in renewable energy prices it will be in a good position to begin replacing the traditional HVAC on a mass scale in the next 3-5 years. There are reasons to believe that the UCF can become a standard not only for heating and cooling but also for ensuring air quality and safety from various hazards from fires to toxicity.


What business and funding model have you considered for your solution to become sustainable?

There are a number of avenues I am looking at from engaging one of the largest players in the market to setting up a startup.



What impact will the proposed actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

What are other key benefits?

Healthier air and humidity levels in homes

Safer environment against fires, and other risks

Cheaper construction costs by eliminating the extensive HVAC shafts used in traditional construction

Eliminating the pipes networks required for natural gas heating

Fewer materials needed to provide central air such as gas boilers and extensive HVAC shafts.

Lower medical costs as the proposal would universally meet the needs for asthmatic and allergic populations especially children which often have to go to emergency rooms.    

About the Authors

Emil Jacob, owner and founder of Jacob Innovations LLC, design firm in Cambridge, MA.

He had his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Toronto and has worked extensively in IT as a Business Systems Analyst finding innovative ways to streamline and automate operations through software and optimized interfaces.

The proposal for the Universal Ceiling Fan was inspired by a project for asthmatic children in his coursework in the Masters program in DESIGN FOR HUMAN HEALTH at the Boston Architectural College. 

Related Proposals (optional)

There is a trend in the market place for more advanced ceiling fans but none have integrated the comprehensive features  aggregated in The Universal Ceiling Fan, especially the connecting shaft for clean air, as well as water pipes for humidifying/dehumidifying/fire sprinklers and more. 








National Center for Biotechnology Information (2013). The frequency and risk factors of allergy and asthma in children with autism--case-control study. Retrieved from[Accessed Accessed 19 Aug. 2017].


The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). ASTHMA OVERVIEW Retrieved from[Accessed 27 Aug. 2017].