As a business owner, you understand that pretty much everything comes down to the bottom dollar. If you can do it for less and get the same or a better outcome, then you will. The summer and winter seasons are deadly in terms of keeping your building comfortable. For office buildings, restaurants, apartment owners, and other high-traffic commercial buildings your energy bill can rise hundreds of dollars seemingly overnight.
But there’s good news. This money can be saved. There are options available for renovating your existing building (or plan ahead, if you’re already in the middle of a building project) to put this money back in your pocket.
Why Your Energy Bill is so High
One likely answer: your doors. Think about it. How many times does the front entry door open in the month? The week? The day? The hour? Every time your door opens, the heating and cooling system kicks in to compensate for that temperature difference. The heat will always go where it’s colder. So, in the summer when your doors are open, the heat migrates inside your building. In the winter, the heat will migrate outside.
The solution: energy efficient doors.
So, Which Door is best?
In the commercial windows and doors business, this question comes up a lot. If there was one door that was better in every way than all the rest, then there would be no choice; you’d just get that door and move on. The reality is they all doors have their own benefits and sometimes the door you’re looking for is actually not the right fit for you.
Let’s start with listing your 3 options (they can get more specific):
- Traditional Swing Doors
- Automatic Sliding Doors
- Revolving Doors
The traditional swing door would be the one you probably think of when you think of a door. The only difference is it’s built for commercial use. They are durable, affordable, and attractive.
The automatic sliding doors would be those doors you see at large stores. You walk up, they open, and you move along. Some businesses can make this work, but generally this is a fairly expensive option.
Revolving doors are the doors you have to push to get open. These are often found in high-rises and other buildings with a lot of foot traffic.
The Most Energy Efficient Entry Door
In order to classify an entry door as “the most energy efficient entry door”, it has to be able to keep the temperature constant. Generally speaking, revolving doors are the most energy efficient. A revolving door is designed to never allow air to seep from the inside out or vice versa, directly. By directly I mean you should never be able to stand at the door and point your arm through and reach the outside. There should always be glass in your way.
For this reason, revolving doors always keep your building’s entryway at a constant temperature. The only escape or addition of heat would be the heat that is in each individual section of the revolving door. It will, of course, bring this heat around and around, and eventually it will escape. The amount of energy you waste here is very insignificant though.
So Revolving Doors are the Most Cost-Efficient Doors Too, Right?
Revolving doors can be the most energy efficient, but the not necessarily the most cost-efficient.
Depending on the quality of the door, prices can vary and even jump up into the 5-digits for just your entry door. Even if you pay between $5,000 and $9,999, you’re still paying a significant amount just for the door. Now you have to hire someone to install it too. As you can see, the costs will add up and be quite discouraging to most business owners; however, the energy efficiency savings can pay for the door.
If you are in a building with a lot of foot traffic (meaning the door would likely never stop spinning, or would only stop for a minute or 2), then you will probably be very happy with your purchase, and will likely pay for this installation within about the first few years of savings.
However, if you’re an apartment owner or any other commercial building manager that deals with just a few people walking through per hour, then it’s probably not going to pay for itself for quite a while. You may be happier with a traditional swing door. But when the door is installed, make sure the installer understands that you want the door to be as energy efficient as possible. An improper installation or one that doesn’t use weatherproofing materials can be a waste of money.
Last but not least: automatic sliding doors. Because of the sensitive sensor, your door will likely open for seemingly no reason at all throughout the day. It could be an object, a person walking by, or anything that moves. These unnecessary openings make the door highly inefficient, especially for the costly installation and upkeep.
However, these doors do have their purpose. For commercial establishments with elderly guests, these doors are ideal. If your visitors should not need to touch the door (either for health reasons, or physical ailments), then automatic sliding doors are a good choice for you.
Bringing it All Together
- Heat will go to the area with the lowest temperature.
- Your doors could be costing you hundreds of dollars each year. Some may even be up into the thousands!
- Every time you open your door (and even while it’s shut), you’re losing money trying to keep your building’s entrance comfortable.
- Revolving doors are the most energy efficient, but not necessarily the most cost efficient.
- Traditional swing doors should be used wherever revolving doors cannot, but are still looking to save on energy.
- Automatic sliding doors should only be used where necessary, such as a senior home, grocery store, etc. Anywhere the visitor should not or cannot physically touch or push the door should be looking for an automatic sliding door.
Ryan Gavin is an associate of Aeroseal Windows & Storefront. He wants all business owners to be aware of the options available and help them make good choices based on the quality and cost of commercial products and services.