Hi Rebecca, tell us - what’s your role at Big Ass Fans?
I’m a Territory Sales Manager, based in WA, and I also look after the Northern Territory. It’s a pretty varied role, so I have a deep understanding of the core fan range including our residential, commercial, industrial products. I worked in showrooms, I’ve also worked with architects and engineers on the pre specifications and new construction side. But then I also have to put on my steel toes and high vis and go out to existing warehouses and measure up to get beam heights - so really, it’s a bit of everything. I need to have an understanding of projects from concept to completion across retrofits, and small applications as well as large.
And prior to this, did you work in architecture adjacent industries? Or is this a switch?
I’ve been with Big Ass Fans for seven years now, so I feel like I've been in the construction industry for a while, but this is my first role in the industry. But this role has given me an understanding of construction and architecture principles, and in the process I’ve really discovered a passion for passive design. That’s what excites me - building designs that work with the environment, not against it, to achieve better energy efficiency.
Have you seen a big shift in the industry’s attitude towards energy efficiency and sustainability over the last seven years?
Absolutely. There’s definitely been an increase - especially in the last year or so - in the industry’s interest in Green Star. There is sometimes a challenge, because often, when you're dealing with contractors and new construction, they're not the ones occupying the space. So they have a significant incentive to build for cheaper costs. Competitive environments often mean that fans are seen as an additional cost. So sometimes it becomes about positioning the benefits of fans as not necessarily about the positive environmental impacts that come from energy efficiency, but rather the decreased cost for occupants who will use less electricity. So my job contains a pretty heavy education element in getting people to understand what is available to them.
Initially, we were mainly doing retrofits, so existing buildings that just weren't meeting comfort standards. So we would come in and put in fans. Part of the education element is that it's always cheaper to incorporate them into the building design, and I have noticed that our fans are specified more during that pre construction phase, which means the industry as a whole is really starting to pick up on the energy efficiencies that fans can provide.
So tell us about the Green Star benefits that come from installing fans.
The Green Building Council of Australia is the sort of body that oversees the standard and assesses buildings as to what sort of star rating they can achieve. We often get briefs where the buildings are being constructed as 6 star builds, which means they’re incredibly energy efficient, and fans are a great way to add an extra star. People might be using fans to reduce the use of air conditioning, or they might be replacing the AC entirely. By doing that, you reduce energy consumption by potentially thousands of watts on a big project, so it’s a significant saving.
Find out more about Big Ass Fans here.