Winner of the 2018 award for Sustainability, category for small enterprises

Sustainability starts with making changes – big and small

From behaviour change as small as putting on a jersey instead of switching on a heater to making design changes to the aerodynamics (and therefore energy efficiency) of its products, sustainability is a subject that comes naturally to engineering firm Air Blow Fans.

“A reduction in energy has a direct link to CO², as well as savings from lower power usage, and we have a history of energy efficiency,” says Gavin Ratner, the company’s managing member. “Much of our product range (of industrial-scale fans) is generally refurbished many times before they are beyond economic repair and the material is scrapped and sent back to steel manufacturers for inclusion as scrap materials into their processes.”

Through effective engineering, it’s possible to significantly reduce energy consumed, and therefore operating costs, he says. ”Using rotor designs that are more aerodynamic, we can improve the fan’s operating point on its fan curve to better suit the required system flows and pressures.”

These benefits appeal to many users of industrial fans – but by no means all.

“People tend not to like change and some are more risk averse than others. Mostly, when clients become conscious of the positive implications of the recommended change, such as greater energy efficiency and lower costs, they make the only decision that should be made – they change,” says Gavin. “Others will resist and want things left the way they are”

Flexibility and the willingness to explore and experiment are key in driving greater efficiency, which almost always means using resources more sustainably. This comes easily at Air Blow Fans. “I’m the quintessential engineer who loves tinkering,” says Gavin. “I’m not scared of change or the unknown; I enjoy pushing boundaries and trying new things.”

Where he has become something of a stickler is in discouraging energy-wasting practices such as keeping the heater on when you really don’t need it. “Put on a jersey,” says Gavin. “It sounds like a small thing that won’t make a great difference, but change starts with us. If more people started thinking along the same lines about how we use energy, it would make a difference.” Small things count!

Enter Now