Last week, at both my evening meetings, I sweltered. No, the meetings weren’t outdoors at mid-day!

One meeting was on the 18th floor of a building with an Energy Star plaque in it’s fancy lobby. Although it had turned into a lovely evening, and we met in a corner office with windows on two sides, we discovered that the windows were painted shut. Not a chance of bringing in some evening cool. I scoured the offices for an oscillating fan to borrow. Not a one to be found.  So we stoically sweated.  We were, after all, discussing how to save the climate by reducing Philadelphia’s emissions.

The following evening, the meeting was in a conference room in a building targeted to be double LEED.  Again, very stuffy. And again, I prowled the facility in search of a portable fan.  We found one and it made an amazing difference in our comfort. Regretably, it was also quite noisy making it difficult to hear the person at the other end of the table.

I was surprised at the inadequacy of the “sustainable” surroundings I found myself in. As I cooled off on the train ride home, I decided that each of these meeting spaces could use the gift of a good portable table fan.

photo credit to

photo credit to

Having grown up in India, with ceiling fans in every room, I knew what a difference a fan made.  And remain surprised that these aren’t a fixture in the US, in every office and hotel room.

With a budget of about $50 per fan, I went looking. This well-written review of the Best Desk Fan: Dyson vs Vornado vs Honeywell stopped me in my tracks.  That there existed a stylish fan that was also quiet, moved air through the room, and used less energy than any other fan I’ve come across was amazing.


The Dyson fan looked so different that I had to go experience one in person. Which I did at a local big box store. And surprised my frugal self by bringing one home.  An overnight run proved it’s quietness.

The next day, I tested it in my office.  There, in the air conditioned space set to 80 degrees, I found that the fan added a surprising amount of comfort to the room.

Just to compare, a window air conditioner uses 525 watts, while this uses about 26 watts, just 5% of the electricity. Other fans typically use about 50 watts.

I’ve learned that it’s not a case of either an A/C or a fan; that I can keep the A/C at a higher temperature (meaning it runs fewer hours each day), and spin the fans in the occupied space to remain comfortable.