The Norman Parks and Recreation department and Oklahoma Electric Cooperative have organized an event to provide fans for low-income and elderly Norman residents as temperatures rise to 90 degrees.
Keep Norman Cool fan drive is an initiative to directly help those without or unable to afford air conditioning. Norman residents can request box fans from June 21 through July 2 and can retrieve their fans between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 6-9 at the Norman Senior Center.
BJ Brewer, interim director of the Norman Senior Citizens Center, said he saw other communities employ this initiative to meet their needs and thought it could help Norman residents as well.
“We’re trying to do our part in making sure we contribute to folks living as comfortably as they can throughout the summer,” Brewer said.
OEC has committed to matching up to 30 box fan donations. Community members can donate new, unused fans to the drive by dropping fans off at the Norman Senior Center or Little Axe Community Center. Those wanting to donate from out of town may do so by ordering a fan online and having it shipped to the Norman Senior Center.
Fans are currently limited to one per household to ensure each Norman family in need can be served. Proof of financial burden is not required.
“We are going along with the assumption that people who genuinely need assistance are going to fill these forms out,” Brewer said. “Hopefully, we are meeting a need for those who need this kind of assistance, and hopefully, we can build on this in the future.”
Daniel Lofland, OEC’s energy efficiency and solutions specialist, said a box fan can cool the perceived temperature of a room around four degrees if a fan is blowing on a person.
“I think by turning the thermostat up, which will lower the HVAC consumption, and replacing it with a little fan motor, we can help make people feel cooler while also saving them money,” Lofland wrote in an email.
Lofland said he encourages people looking for a way to reduce their electric bill to reach out to OEC. The organization publishes a magazine each month with ways to reduce electric bills, and the company offers free home energy audits.
Brewer said he hopes this can become an annual event to continue an improved state of living for the community.
“We hope we can continue doing this to help meet the needs of our citizens who struggle to keep cool during the summer months, and we invite anyone in the community — whether it’s a local business, family or individual — to participate by donating a new box fan,” Brewer said.