Constructing a new LEED® certified football stadium, Tulane University wanted to beat the New Orleans heat and humidity with an efficient alternative to air conditioning. After 40 years of sharing the Superdome, the school planned to give Tulane’s fans, the Green Wave, a dedicated home field—Yulman Stadium—without sacrificing comfort. The administration knew the real test of their sustainable system would be keeping the crowd comfortable in the dog days of summer.
Although the university had green building experience, the on-campus stadium, with a proposed capacity of 30,000 provided new challenges. To achieve LEED certification, the design included sustainable materials, onsite water retention and energy-efficient products and equipment. The completed project was so impressive that the stadium is now the subject of continuing education for the regional U.S. Green Building Council chapter.
Tulane worked with Big Ass Fans to design a layout that brought clubhouse-caliber comfort to all the stadium’s visitors. The school’s goal, and the key aspect of planning any stadium project, is maximizing every inch of usable space.
“The concern of the architects and the administration whenever we mention a product like fans is that their placement will take away seats, box space or concourse room,” said Assistant Athletics Director Mary Hoffman. “Big Ass Fans’ engineers and designers worked closely with our architects to ensure the fans were completely unobtrusive and fit seamlessly into the existing design.”
When Tulane’s famous Green Wave of supporters entered the newly constructed Yulman Stadium on opening day, they were met with a wave of a different type: air movement. The stadium installed nearly 40 Essence fans, measuring 8 to 10 feet in diameter, to create airflow along the concourse and open-air terrace, where fans enter and exit. Rated for indoor and outdoor use, Essence is perfect for large spaces like pavilions, lobbies and porches.
The Big Ass team of application engineers also worked with the athletic trainers to create an outdoor haven for players, as they’re the most at-risk in extreme heat. Along the field, eight Yellow Jacket fans equipped with misters create an ultra-fine mist to cool players without soaking the sidelines. The misters lower outdoor air temperatures by as much as 25°F, helping athletes stay safe in the summer.
Of course, the crowd favorite was the Tulane Fan Cooling Zone, equipped with four AirGo fans. The 8-ft portable upright fans deliver airflow half the length of a football field and are encased in a heavy-duty steel safety cage to ensure crowd safety.
With the temperature topping 90°F and 91% humidity, everyone appreciated the breezes. “The combination of overhead and mobile fans provide an impressive level of comfort. The Essence fans are completely silent and the design fits seamlessly into every space, from the premium-level seats to the open-air concourse,” said Hoffman.