What To Look For In An Energy Efficient Ceiling Fan

When it comes to finding an energy efficient ceiling fan on the market, there are a few things that you should first understand. Because there is some technical jargon associated with ceiling fans, we will first define a few terms and then help you to understand what makes a fan energy efficient, as well as a few examples on the market today. Thanks for joining us today, and keep reading to learn what to look for in an energy efficient ceiling fan.


Energy Star – Government EPA designation for anything that is energy efficient, depending on the product criteria

Energy Star Ceiling Fan – the following criteria define an Energy Star qualified residential ventilating fan:

Airflow (cfm) Minimum Efficacy Level (cfm/W)
Low At low speed, fans must have a minimum airflow of 1,250 CFM* and an efficiency of 155 cfm/W.
Medium At medium speed, fans must have a minimum airflow of 3,000 CFM* and an efficiency of 100 cfm/W.
High At high speed, fans must have a minimum airflow of 5,000 CFM* and an efficiency of 75 cfm/W.


Equipment Specification
Ceiling Fans
  • Specification defines residential ceiling fan airflow efficiency on a performance basis: cfm* of airflow per watt of power consumed by the motor and controls.
  • Motor warranty provided must be a minimum of 30 years
  • Component(s) warranty must be a minimum of one year
  • Light kit warranty requirements are provided in the ENERGY STAR Luminaires (637KB) specification.
  • Integral or attachable lighting, including separately sold ceiling fan light kits, must meet requirements provided in the ENERGY STAR Luminaires (637KB) specification. See specification (637KB) for specific requirements.
  • Qualifying products must permit convenient consumer adjustment of fan speed, by means of one or more wall-mounted switch(es), a remote control, or readily accessible pull chains.


Cfm – airflow in cubic feet of air per minute

Cfm/W – airflow efficiency as defined by the EPA, measured in cubic feet of air per minute per watt.

Benefits of Energy Efficient Ceiling Fans

  • Can be over 50% more efficient than conventional fan units
  • Efficiency can translate into savings of more than $15 per fan per year
  • Higher manufacturing standards of motor and parts (longer required warranty)

What To Look For

Energy Star Ceiling Fan

Now that you know what specific constraints define energy efficient ceiling fans, it is much easier to sift through the many different options on the market. What you are looking for is a high number in the cfm/w column, because that will be a higher ratio of ventilation per watt, and thus a more efficient fan unit.

If you are a fan of shopping for Energy Star products because it is easy to just filter your search by Energy Star qualified products, that is a great place to start. But it won’t include all energy efficient ceiling fans. Some companies, for whatever reasons (money, beaurocracy, etc) don’t submit their products for Energy Star consideration, even if their products meet or exceed the guidelines. This is where knowing the information above comes in handy. With your newly acquired knowledge on the definitions of energy efficient ceiling fans, you can sift through the market and find ceiling fans that fit in your budget while also saving you the most on energy costs, especially since Energy Star qualified products usually carry a higher price tag.

Examples of Energy Efficient Ceiling Fans

The following ceiling fan is an example of an Energy Star rated ceiling fan with a cfm/w of 95. It is the Emerson Loft Brushed Steel ceiling fan.

You know that since it is Energy Star rated that it meets or exceeds the cfm/w guidelines, as well as the manufacturers’ warranties and lighting guidelines.

Below is an example of an energy efficient ceiling fan without an Energy Star rating with a cfm/w of 87. It is the Casa Metro Brushed Nickel ceiling fan.

It has a 1 year component warranty as well as a manufacturer limited lifetime motor warranty, which are equal to (or exceeding in the case of the motor warranty)the Energy Star guidelines. Its high speed cfm/w exceeds the minimum guidelines, as well as the high speed airflow. While they do not have published data on medium or low speed airflow and airflow efficiency, you can expect that they also exceed the minimum guidelines. So even though this ceiling fan is not Energy Star rated, it meets the guidelines, and in a few cases, exceeds them.

In Summary

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the world of ceiling fans a little better. Now that you know what to look for when shopping for energy efficient ceiling fans, browse the rest of this site for recommendations on some elegant and modern options to spice up your living space today. Thanks for reading!

If you have any questions about the material above or on this website, feel free to drop us a line on the contact page, or leave a comment below.

What is your favorite energy efficient ceiling fan and why? Let us know below. Thanks!

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