Feeling the breeze from a ceiling fan just may be a step you can take toward greater energy efficiency this winter.
You can save as much as 40 percent on the cost of cooling your home because a fan creates airflow that cools the people in the room, reducing the need for air conditioning, says Leslie Killingsworth, director of purchasing for Progressive Lighting/Lee Lighting stores.
In the winter, she says, ceiling fans recirculate the warm air at the top of the room, which raises the temperature in the living space below (if fans are switched from running counter-clockwise in the summer to running clockwise in the winter). Using ceiling fans can trim heating costs by 10 percent, according to Casablanca Fan Co.
Fans have become an extension of decorative lighting, with people returning to traditional styles with plated finishes or choosing a rustic style for a more casual look, Killingsworth said. Other fans have more natural materials, also fitting with the desire for a greener look and feel in homes.
Ceiling fans with new DC motors (instead of the traditional AC motors) enable homeowners to use less electricity, says Phil Sherer, vice president of sales at Masterpiece Lighting.
Some motors are virtually silent, and since the motors are smaller, the fans are lighter, he says.
These four fans show a possible new direction for ceiling fans.
Savoy House Fan d’lier - The fan d’lier is a mix between a chandelier and ceiling fan. Fan d’liers look like light fixtures but perform like fans, with the blades encased within the fan’s design. This style — the Bay St. Louis — has an antique copper finish and cream glass. Suggested retail price: $698, progressivelighting.com .
Brewmaster Belt Driven Ceiling Fan - A pulley-like system rotates the blades in the Brewmaster belt-driven ceiling fan by Fanimation. It not only has a unique vintage style, but the company says it cuts down on electricity costs. Blade options include cherry, walnut, rosewood, bamboo and palm leaf styles. Suggested retail price: $760, fanimation.com .
Emerson Midway Eco Fan - The sleek Emerson Midway Eco Fan, which is Energy Star-approved, has a motor that uses 75 percent less energy than other ceiling fans and blades that move up to 40 percent more air, according to the company. Prices vary, depending on size; www.emersonfans.com , www.masterpiecelighting.com 
Casablanca Brescia Fan - Many of Casablanca Fan Co.’s fans have earned the Energy Star rating. Energy Star-qualified ceiling fans are generally about 20 percent more efficient than standard ceiling fans, according to the company. One of its styles, the Brescia, has an arts-and-crafts style for homes. Prices vary, depending on size; for dealers, visitcasablancafanco.com/Support/Find-a-Casablanca-Dealer