A ceiling fan can increase energy efficiency in the winter, too. As outdoor temperatures drop, switch the fan from running counter-clockwise in the summer to running clockwise in the winter.
The fan will then recirculate the warm air at the top of the room, which raises the temperature in the living space below, said Leslie Killingsworth of Progressive Lighting/Lee Lighting stores. Using ceiling fans can trim heating costs by 10 percent, according to Casablanca Fan Co.
During hot weather, you can save as much as 40 percent on cooling costs by reducing the need for air conditioning.
Fans have become an extension of decorative lighting, with people returning to traditional styles with plated finishes or choosing a rustic style for a more casual look, Killingsworth said. Other fans have more natural materials, also fitting with the desire for a greener look and feel in homes.
Ceiling fans with new DC motors (instead of the traditional AC motors) enable homeowners to use less electricity, said Phil Sherer, vice president of sales at Masterpiece Lighting.
Some motors are virtually silent, and since the motors are smaller, the fans are lighter, he said.
These four fans show a possible new direction for ceiling fans.
Savoy House Fan d’lier: The fan d’lier is a mix of chandelier and ceiling fan. Fan d’liers look like light fixtures but perform like fans, with the blades encased within the fan’s design. The Bay St. Louis has an antique copper finish and cream glass. Suggested retail price: $698, progressivelighting.com
Brewmaster Belt Driven Ceiling Fan: A pulleylike system rotates the blades in the Brewmaster belt-driven ceiling fan by Fanimation. It not only has a distinctive vintage style, but the company says it cuts down on electricity costs. Blade options include cherry, walnut, rosewood, bamboo and palm leaf styles. Suggested retail price: $760, fanimation.com
Emerson Midway Eco Fan: The sleek Emerson Midway Eco Fan, which is Energy Star-approved, has a motor that uses 75 percent less energy than other ceiling fans and blades that move up to 40 percent more air, according to the company. Prices vary, depending on size; www.emersonfans.com, masterpiecelighting.com
Casablanca Brescia Fan: Many of Casablanca Fan Co.’s fans have earned the Energy Star rating. Energy Star-qualified ceiling fans are generally about 20 percent more efficient than standard ceiling fans, according to the company. The Brescia is an Arts and Crafts style. Prices vary, depending on size; for dealers, visit http://tinyurl.com/bqebrvl