Coppola’s Hideaway Has a Big Solution to Costly AC

LEXINGTON, KY—When visiting a far-flung island destination, guests might imagine the sounds of cool breezes and crashing waves—not a loud air conditioner. Also, it can be costly and simply not sustainable to run one on-property.

Forgoing air-conditioning, The Family Coppola Hideaways—a collection of luxury resorts in Belize and Guatemala created by film director Francis Ford Coppola—upgraded all of its fans to Energy Star-efficient Haiku fans by Big Ass Solutions. The manufacturer of fans, lights and controls for industrial, agricultural, commercial and residential use, offers the Big Ass Fans, Big Ass Light and Haiku fan product lines.

“Our hotel is a pioneer of sustainable practices. Our focus has always been minimal impact on our fragile environment,” said Bernie Matute, GM of the Blancaneaux Lodge, which is one of two Family Coppola Hideaway properties in Belize. “Although the creek that runs in front of the hotel harnesses our power, our focus was to use all energy-efficient appliances. Big Ass Solutions’ fans were a great fit. I suppose that both Big Ass Solutions and the Coppola Hideaways have a similar vision, improving the way of life without impacting our fragile environment.”

“The Coppola Hideaways try to create a soothing, relaxing environment throughout their resorts. One of the resorts purchased several Haiku fans and the relationship grew from there,” said Hilary Borgmeier, marketing director, Big Ass Solutions, based here. “They were, of course, interested in reducing their energy consumption, but natural cooling and climate control were paramount. Although the trio of resorts are located in tropical climates, the Coppolas are committed to providing an escape for visitors, and that means no air-conditioning, no television and no noisy fans.”

In hotels and other locations that use air-conditioning, Haiku fans help to reduce HVAC use by creating a cooling effect of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which means hotel managers can raise the thermostat set point without sacrificing guests’ comfort, explained Borgmeier.

“In the case of the Coppola resorts, the fans’ gentle and silent air circulation means that air-conditioning isn’t needed,” she said. “And, because the fans are significantly more energy efficient than previous fans they used, they’re able to put the savings into other areas.”

Big Ass Solutions’ reputation precedes it. The manufacturer is known in the industry for engineering and energy efficiency, noted Borgmeier.

“We’re frequently contacted by clients interested in ways to reduce energy consumption and improve guest comfort at the same time,” she said. “Sometimes it’s because energy is in limited supply, and sometimes it’s because the hotel owner has a strong commitment to sustainability and creating as soothing and natural an environment as possible. In the case of the Coppola resorts, both of these reasons applied.”

How do you select a proper fan for an island retreat? It’s all about aesthetics and features. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a famous filmmaker involved in the process.

“The fans’ appearance played a big role,” she said. “The bamboo airfoils integrate beautifully with the overall decor, to quote director Francis Ford Coppola, who also called out the fans’ various speeds and modes, including one (Whoosh) that naturally and silently mimics natural breezes. The LED lights effortlessly go from bright to low, creating the right amount of light for any time of day.”

“These Big Ass fans burn one-third of what our previous fans consumed,” said Matute. “We have installed 31 Big Ass fans throughout our property, which is an equivalency of about two kilowatts saved daily. The power surplus gives us room to continue updating our rooms amenity.”

In the future, Big Ass Solutions plans to continue to refine its existing products and create new ones every year to reach more spaces, both indoors and out. The company’s products aren’t just for beachfront escapes—they cater to every kind of space, from small guestrooms to spacious conference halls, restaurants, fitness areas and more.

“Our company history includes numerous firsts, including the first smart ceiling fan, Haiku,” she said. “Its elegance, silence and convenience has led to its adoption by many of the world’s finest resorts, including Olivia Newton-John’s Gaia Retreat and Spa in New South Wales, Australia, and the Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize and Guatemala.”