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“GREEN” DOORS: Earth Day and Automatic Doors

Blog 9, April 2022

Earth Day has us thinking of … automatic doors.

Did you know the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs once wanted to measure if automatic doors really offered energy savings? The department’s researchers chose a pharmacy in Amsterdam as a test site. First, they measured energy consumption with a manual door, reading the gas and electric meters from each utility company. Then they replaced it with an automatic door and measured again with the same devices. In the end, automatic doors offered 43% energy savings over manual doors.

The World Green Building Council says that the building sector accounts for a whopping 39% of the world’s carbon emissions. That’s nearly double the transportation sector (22%)!

Meanwhile, 71% of buildings’ energy consumption goes toward interior heating and cooling. Every time that interior climate is disturbed, heating and cooling systems must work that much harder, and use even more energy, to bring the temperature back to the set point.

Taken together, these statistics demonstrate why it is so important to avoid disturbing a building’s interior climate to maintain temperature.

Which brings us to automatic doors.

When a door saves energy, the whole building saves energy. Doors (along with windows) are likely places where air can escape. They’re usually thinner than walls, plus they open and close dozens, maybe hundreds, of times during the normal course of business. Automatic doors are faster, smarter, and better suited to high foot traffic areas than manual doors. Therefore, automatic doors are a necessity for sustainable commercial buildings, helping to minimize heat transmission, air leakage, and air infiltration.

On this Earth Day, the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) celebrates the ongoing move to green building, and the role automatic doors can play in more sustainable construction.

The energy savings achieved by automatic doors can contribute to LEED ratings. Established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is the most widely accepted standard used to establish a sustainability rating for buildings.

Automatic doors do a stellar job of keeping climate-controlled air inside a building, reducing the energy needed to maintain a constant temperature. Air flows in and out of a building because of differences in air pressure. Regular pedestrian traffic at a typical large office building allows up to 30,000 cubic feet of air to escape per minute. An automatic revolving door creates an “always open, always closed” barrier, minimizing wasteful airflow.

Automatic sliding doors with appropriate seals (such as a molding or strip that blocks the gap between doorjambs and edges) can create a positive weather-tight seal that helps prevent airflow and saves energy. In addition, automatic door panels can be glazed with insulated glass to further promote energy savings.

Adding a vestibule, with a small entrance area between two automatic sliding doors, creates even greater energy savings.

No matter which automatic door you choose, you’ll get a greener result.


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