Status Report: Dock Doors

Reduce Energy Loss While Saving Money


Because each installation is unique, it’s difficult to estimate annual energy savings and payback. However, there’s little question that thousands of dollars in annual savings can be achieved along with a quick ROI.

5. Upgrade to advanced exterior dock door technology: Not all industrial doors are alike. Additionally, a door’s cycle times (opening and closing) and the seal it provides are more important than R-value when it comes to energy efficiency.

Installing high-speed doors offers great potential to deliver energy savings. The doors allow people and/or equipment to move quickly through openings. Some technically advanced high-speed, roll-up doors are rated to operate up to 100 inches per second—leaving very little time for energy to escape. Well-designed high-speed doors also incorporate a sufficiently weighted soft-bottom edge to provide a tight bottom seal.

Depending on the climate, savings of $400 to $7,000 per door opening per year are achievable. Typical ROI: One to three years.

6. Move interior air the right way: High-speed ceiling fans are ineffective at pushing trapped warm air down from the ceiling. The stratified air also doesn’t get mixed with the air that is close to the floor, leaving a greater temperature disparity from floor to ceiling.

Consider installing high-volume/low-speed (HV/LS) ceiling fans as a solution. In addition to moving more air than traditional fans, HV/LS fans use little energy to gently move warm air near the ceiling back down toward the floor and into more areas where it’s needed. Newer, advanced-designed HV/LS fans also cycle air better for a mixing effect that creates a much more uniform air temperature from floor to ceiling for energy savings during the colder months.

During the warmer months, the fans’ light breeze moving across employees’ skin has a cooling effect. That means the thermostat can be raised without reducing the level of employee comfort.

A single HV/LS fan can reduce annual heating and cooling costs by as much as 20-30 percent, depending on the climate. Typical ROI: As little as six months.

7. Close the door on energy losses: Poor perimeter seals on sectional doors are clear pathways for energy losses. The problem occurs when side and bottom seals wear over time, creating gaps between the door and the building wall. Gaps can also develop between sections of the door and at the top of the unit. Even insulated sectional doors with high R-Value and other thermal properties lose their effectiveness if the perimeters are not sealed properly.

Check all sectional doors to ensure they’re properly sealed. If gaps exist, consider replacing your side and/or bottom seals. There is a variety of brush, vinyl and foam seals available. If the door panels are warped or damaged, consider replacing them with flexible, impactable panels to help prevent future maintenance issues.

If a new door is required, evaluate all the aspects of your application. Insulation, impactability, sealing, and ventilation/vision are just a few aspects to consider.

The savings with new seals, door panels, or new sectional doors varies based on the extent of the gaps that exist and the application. At the very least, a properly sealed door can save users hundreds of dollars per year in avoided energy losses and payback is often measured in months.

8. Get control of cooler and freezer openings: Doors with frost and ice issues drive up energy costs. The high costs are the result of slow moving doors, or the use of heat lamps and air curtains to keep the door panel free of frost.

Technically advanced high-speed cold storage doors eliminate the need for traditional approaches to tackle frost issues. As an example, the latest model upward-acting, high performance door uses a full perimeter seal with an insulated curtain to create an insulated barrier between the freezer temperature and the door tracks to minimize frost build-up.

Savings of up to $10,000 annually per position. Typical ROI: 15 months.

9. Plan the work and work the plan: Gaining control of any energy costs is a matter of planning and execution.

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