Open The Door To Energy Savings

Warehouses can lower energy costs by choosing the right door.


Check For Durability

In addition, warehouse facilitators should keep door durability in mind.

"In every warehouse the door is going to get hit at some point. It just depends on how abusive your situation is. Look for a dock door that has some kind of impactability to it," notes Rite Hite's Schumacher.

According to the experts, impactable dock doors may cost anywhere from $900 to $3,000 dollars. To determine what kind of impactable door is required, a company needs to estimate the level of damage a door will sustain over the period of a year. These doors prevent damage to themselves through a number of means. In some cases, when a forklift strikes a door, a few of the panels will breakaway. Other doors breakaway in their entirety when hit. Some doors only flex when struck and then bounce back into position.

Overhead Doors' Knock and Lock product features two impact resistant sections on the bottom of an insulated door. When struck, these sections swing outward and automatically swing back in place, thanks to a bungee cord that runs through the panel.

"We estimate that 90 percent of damage to dock doors is on the bottom two sections," says Overhead's Cohen.

TKO Doors offers its Knock Out door, which knocks to the outside when struck by a forklift.

"You just pull it back into the tracks," explains Brown. "You eliminate the damage you have so that you don't have to call in for emergency service."

Rite Hite has an impactable door that features True Auto Re-Feed. Should the door get hit as it's opening, it re-aligns itself on the way up.

There are a number of advantages to using an impactable dock door-the main one being productivity. If a warehouse suffers the loss of a door due to collision, they can no longer use it to load and unload trailers. Loss of productivity means loss of income, as well as warehousing personnel that are standing around doing nothing and getting paid for it.

Another advantage is the savings in maintenance costs. The experts estimate that the cost to repair the bottom panel of a standard sectional door can run anywhere from $400 to $600, whereas many impactable doors cost only about $400 more than a sectional door.

"This means they pay for themselves in two-to-five years," says TKO's Brown. "If you have to replace a panel twice every year on that standard door, it's about $800 a year."

Freezer Doors

Freezer doors are another subject entirely. Not only must they be able to take a hit, they must also be able to withstand temperatures in the neighborhood of zero degrees Fahrenheit. The current trend is the use of high speed roll up doors, which are composed of thin fabric.

These doors have no R value and in order to prevent ice from building up on the freezer side, warehouses have to keep heat lamps on them that use anywhere from 15 to 30 kilowatts of energy. In addition, the heat generated by them must also be removed.

"Keeping the ice off your door can cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a year per door opening," notes Rite Hite's Schumacher. "We manufacture a roll up door with an insulated panel, which doesn't require heat lamps. A lot of our customers are getting rebates from energy companies because they're saving so much money."

Schumacher's company also offers insulated bi-parting doors. These types of doors open faster than rolling doors. On a typical eight by 14 freezer door, the rolling door has to go up 14 feet while the biparting door only has to open eight. Schumacher says that if a warehouse freezer has the room in its opening to allow a door's panels to slide to the side, it's a better option.

"The biggest cost in a freezer door is really when it's open and you let all that heat in and then have to remove it," notes Schumacher. "So the faster you can get your door open and then close it, the more money you're going to save."

Another factor to keep in mind is how well a freezer door seals.

"If you have a door that doesn't seal well, you're going to get ice building up wherever the seal is bad," warns Schumacher. "It's lost energy."

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