As summer heats up the city, there is another way of cooling your home without the resulting exorbitant power bills and environmental damage caused by air conditioning. Fans are becoming increasingly popular, not only for their sustainable cooling abilities but their decorative possibilities.
Jennifer McBride, owner of Life's a Breeze, a store that specialises in fans, says running a fan for 24 hours costs the same as having the air conditioning on for one hour. 'Fans use less than a 100-watt light bulb in power,' McBride explains. 'They also cool the body by promoting evaporation on the skin, which cools you down by about three to four degrees.'
At night, McBride suggests switching the air conditioning on for 10 minutes to cool the room down, then switch it off and run the fan all night. This will ensure that you, and the room, stay cool. 'You do need both air conditioning and fans in Hong Kong - I don't think you can get away with just fans,' she explains. 'But fans make the air conditioning more efficient.'
Fans also have other benefits as they don't dry your skin up or wake you up in the middle of the night because things are too cold. In addition, McBride says fans help circulate the air, which means mould spores don't have a chance to settle, which is also beneficial for people with asthma. She adds the latest study from Canada shows fans can also be beneficial in helping prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome because they help move the air around, preventing carbon dioxide from settling in babies' lungs.
Fans can also help with energy costs in winter. Run the fan in a clockwise direction. This pushes warm air up against the ceiling and then down the walls, gently recirculating warm air through the room without causing a chilling breeze.
McBride says the most popular fans are basic white or brushed aluminium that will suit most interiors. The other popular style is palm fans made from real banana palms or styled with plastic palm-like blades. Contemporary fans come with remote controls, and people who are renting often buy fans with pull cords so they don't have to put holes in the walls. When they move, the fans can be packed up and moved too.