What you need to know about energy efficient doors.
Everyone spends a lot of time talking about energy efficient appliances for the kitchen like dishwashers, washers and dryers; and for bigger appliances like heat pumps and water heaters. Sometimes even about windows. But we hardly ever hear of energy efficiency as it relates to doors. Yes, in fact, doors to your home (front doors, side doors, back doors), can all be energy efficient as well.
They not only do an excellent job of protecting the people and objects inside the home, but the right ones can also protect from the elements coming in or the heat/air going out. An important distinction when trying to be energy efficient. Considering how much heat or air conditioning you are losing to a non-energy-efficient door, or how much heat or cold air is coming into your home therefore making you crank up the A/C or heat, means you’re not only spending more money on utilities, but not being very energy efficient.
This is a program from the government that is operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) to determine if certain items (like the dishwasher or your door) are energy efficient. There are two main things they assess in order to rate the item.
When speaking about doors, it’s all about air and heat coming in or going out. Non-solar heat (i.e. heat that doesn’t directly come from the sun so the heating inside your home). The EPA measures something called the “U Factor” which is the amount of “non-solar heat” that goes through a door. A lower the U Factor value means your door is doing an excellent job at insulating your home from non-solar heat; in other words keeping the heat out during the warm months and keeping the heat in during the cold months.
Then, of course, they consider the solar heat, or solar radiation that goes through the door. This is called the “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient” or SHGC. You want your SGHC to be low because this means it is more energy efficient and will help to keep your home cool in the summer (protecting from the sun’s heat) and warm in the winter (protecting from the cold elements outdoors).
Of course, it’s hard to know if something is energy efficient just with the naked eye. What makes something energy efficient happens “behind the scenes” so it’s important to know the factors that can affect these ratings.
For instance, depending on whether your door is made of solid wood, or if there are panels of glass, these ratings can change as it adds a whole other level of consideration. Also, what is the door actually made of? Is it solid wood or steel, or is it hollow inside?
What are the benefits?
And of course, like everything else that is good for you or the environment, the price tag reflects this. But it also reflects the extra work that goes into manufacturing these doors. And in the long run, if you spend a little extra up-front, you’ll save monthly on your utilities bill because you’re not losing as much energy. You’re helping the environment by using less energy and reducing your carbon footprint. And of course, by being able to maintain a steady indoor temperature during the winter and summer, you’ll be that much more comfortable in your own home.