Is Your Building’s Energy Efficiency Just Going Out the Door? 

STANLEY Access Technologies December 5, 2022
New horizons open

The right automatic doors can help improve energy efficiency for your building. Here's what to know to choose the best energy-saving doors. 

Is Your Building’s Energy Efficiency Just Going Out the Door?

Improving energy efficiency 

According to, the average building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes leading to unnecessarily higher energy bills. In order to minimize those costs, each element of a budling must be chosen with careful consideration given to energy efficiency, whether it’s a new design or an existing facility. Doors, especially, are a common trouble spot for heat loss and cold air infiltration during colder months and solar heat gains and higher strain on HVAC systems during the summer. Regardless of the type of door and materials used, every doorway will experience some energy loss. But there are some choices that can be made to help maximize door energy efficiency.


Architects and facilities managers often reach out to us for help in finding ways to design their buildings with more energy-efficient solutions, because quite honestly, doors play a major role in preventing or allowing energy loss. We’ve been highly successful in helping our customers select the most energy efficient doors available for their facility.”

Codes and compliance 

The International Energy Conservation Code Chapter 4 is the place to start when choosing energy-efficient commercial doors. The code establishes prescriptive requirements based on climate zones and assigns ratings based on thermal resistance (R-Values), thermal transfer (U-factors), solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), and visible light transmission (VLT).


The basics 

To learn how door selection can affect energy efficiency, there are a few basic concepts to understand that affect door energy ratings: 


Go above and beyond 

Meeting code requirements, however, is only the first step and more can be done to decrease energy-loss specifically through door selection. For example, while many automatic sliding doors can be fully swung out (also called “breakout”) at any point of travel during power outages or to create a large emergency exit, these full break-out doors must be designed with intentional gaps at the bottom which increases air leakage and can compromise energy efficiency. Selecting energy saving doors that only allow for the sliding panel to swing out (partial breakout) can help reduce some of that energy loss. Another way to improve energy efficiency, is to select doors with reduced open door clearance and programming automatic doors to stay open for slightly shorter periods of time. While these options still maintain code compliance, they allow a lower amount of energy to transfer across the threshold as the door is in operation. Lastly, and arguably most important is the selection of the right type of glass. Selecting 1” insulated door glass with a Low-E coating can reduce U-Factor by as much as 40%. This glass consists of two panes of glass separated by air or an insulating gas like argon, along with a Low-E coating to help provide thermal resistance.  Low-E coatings minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted. 


It goes without saying that building design is a complicated undertaking with lots of factors to consider. But choosing the right doors to help maintain energy efficiency doesn’t have to be. Hopefully, this brief overview will make it easier to select the right doors for your facility.


Let's get started

Selecting the right automatic doors is an easy way to increase your building's energy efficiency and we would be honored to assist you.

Contact us today for specification services that will help you get started.