Why Install Energy-Efficient Doors?
Are you looking to make your home more energy-efficient? If yes, we have an intelligent and cost-effective way for you to do this.
While many people opt for LED bulbs or solar panels to enhance their energy efficiency, a relatively simple way is often overlooked - the doors of your house!
Yes! Besides adding style elements and functionality, installing energy-efficient doors can significantly increase a house's energy efficiency. They provide tighter seals against outside elements and help retain inside heat or cooling intact. As a result, these doors create consistent and comfortable room temperatures and also protect floors, furniture, and carpets from UV damage.
But, what makes doors energy-efficient? Keep reading to find out!
What Makes Doors energy-efficient?
All energy-efficient doors are built differently; what makes them energy efficient depends on numerous factors. Door material, core, and glass insert options are some of the primary factors that determine a door's energy efficiency.
These three things combine to minimize the heat flow and leakage of air through doors.
However, none of this is mere guesswork; in fact, there is a complete science behind these things. Finished products like windows and doors have specific R-values and U-factors that measure their energy efficiency.
What are U-factor and R-value?
The U-factor quantifies the heat flowing through a door. A smaller U-factor value represents a more energy-efficient door, while a higher U-factor will mean your door is less energy-efficient.
The R-value, on the other hand, represents the door's insulation ability. A door with a higher R-value will have better-insulating properties than a one with a lower R-value. The U-factor and R-value together determine whether a door or window qualifies for Energy Star Certification or not.
What is Energy Star Certification?
The EPA (Environment Protection Agency) and the U.S Department of Energy together run the Energy Star program that certifies energy-efficient products and buildings.
In the case of doors, two factors contribute to a doors Energy Star Certification:
• Its U-factor
• And the amount of glass used on the door.
Since door types use different amounts of glass, each one will require a different U-value. For example, a sliding patio door and a French patio door do not feature the same glass. So, these two will need different U-values to get the Energy Star Certification.
Comparing the energy-efficiency of different doors
The material and insulation contribute a lot towards the energy efficiency of a door.
Wood, aluminum, and fiberglass are some of the most commonly used entry-door materials. All three behave differently in terms of aesthetics and energy efficiency.
For example, wood makes for an incredibly attractive door material, but it can't be insulated. Similarly, the other two have their pros and cons as well.
Let's study all three materials in detail.
Fiberglass is one of the lightest and most durable options around. Even with extreme temperature changes, it does not contract and expand as much as other materials.
Being a poor heat conductor, fiberglass is an amazing energy-efficient material (because it does not allow heat or cooling inside to escape). Moreover, it provides even better insulation when paired with a dense polyurethane foam core.
It's also worth mentioning that it requires relatively low maintenance.
Aluminum (along with steel) is a widely appreciated choice for outside doors. Both of these are significantly strong and provide a satisfying sense of security.
Plus, if you care about sustainability and protecting the environment, you would be glad to know that aluminum is easily recyclable and typically contains 15% recycled content.
Besides, they are durable and don’t require much maintenance either.
However, metal doors have some disadvantages. Since they are good conductors of heat, you’ll feel the outside heat or cold every time you touch them. Moreover, these are prone to bending and dings and do not last as long as fiberglass.
Although wood's texture, appearance, and graceful looks are loved by everyone, it doesn't make for an energy-efficient door material.
Wood is a terrible choice for insulation as it absorbs excess heat and passes it on to the inside of the house. This will ultimately force you to use air-conditioning and increase your energy consumption.
Besides, wood is also highly vulnerable to bending, warping, or sagging and would need frequent maintenance.
Other Elements That Contribute to a Door’s Energy Efficiency:
Now that you know how different materials contribute to the energy efficiency of a door, let’s study some other factors.
The frame, glass, insulation, and weatherstripping add up to affect a door’s U-factor, R-value, and overall energy efficiency.
Let’s see how these factors affect:
Door frames are just as crucial as doors themselves because some materials of the doors save more energy than others.
Metal or wood frames might seem like decent options, but they don't add much value to the door's energy efficiency. Both wood and metal are poor insulators and are vulnerable to damage. Metals are prone to rusting, while wood is always at risk of attack by termites and pests.
On the other hand, composite frames are the best performing energy-efficient frames – plus, they are more durable. But, what is composite?
It is a mixture of different materials designed to make a frame as durable as possible while keeping it energy-efficient. They don't rust, bend, rot, or dint at all.
Increasing the door's energy efficiency with glass requires following a simple strategy. The larger the grass area, the more glass-efficient your glass needs to be.
All you have to do is use those double or triple-paned options of glass that come with low-E coatings.
Insulation is one of the most critical energy-efficiency governing factors. Even if you choose the best material for your door and frame and use highly energy-efficient glass, you would need some kind of insulation to make your door fully energy-efficient.
Polyurethane foam is a fabulous insulation material that comes with high R-value and thermal resistance.
Weatherstripping seals door openings along the sides, top, and bottom. It ensures that outside weather elements don’t interfere with the indoor atmosphere, helping increase the efficiency of the door and your house.
Some of the most common weatherstripping materials for doors are:
• Steel, aluminum, or plastic sweeps
• EPDM rubber
The efficacy of these weatherstrippings depends on the material itself, installation, and floor type.
So, no matter the door type, it's important that you first understand your door material's effects and the contributing factors. Once you know these well, you can make smarter decisions to make your door energy-efficient.