Renters' Solution: Ceiling Fan in a Light Socket

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Ceiling fans—as ugly as the world of HGTV and TLC design shows would have you believe they are—are necessary here in the south. With sweltering summer temperatures, running the air conditioning on full blast around the clock would result in a utility bill charge with more digits than we'd like to see. Turning a ceiling fan on can help spread cool air all around your home and actually keep you as comfortable as you'd be if you turned the AC down 10 degrees. But unfortunately as a renter, you might have to go without a fan and just deal with the installed appliances you're given. Until now...

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The Urban Fan, a contender in the 2009 Greener Gadgets competition designed by William Oltman, will help you keep energy use and cost down, as powering a ceiling fan for an hour costs pennies compared to at least a dollar for the AC.

The fan screws right into an overhead, sunken light socket like you see in many cookie-cutter apartment buildings. The result is a fan which, unlike stand-up fans, takes up no floor space and leaves you with no ugly cord mess to tangle on your floor. Also, you're free to pick up, unscrew and carry this fixture over to your next rental space.

So that you don't lose a light where you might need one, you can still pop a CFL into the bottom of the fan.

All of that is great, but do you want to hear the quirkiest thing about this green gadget? The fan gives you setting options of a 'low' or a 'medium' speed. Why no 'high'? Because the makers of the Urban Fan want to encourage you to use energy responsibly and save some for your other electronics. How green is that?

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