Recently, the city of New York passed a law stating all city businesses are now required to keep their doors closed during business hours. Energy freely escaping any building is clearly not good, but how many of us consider what we may be letting into our buildings? Unwanted guests include hot and cold air, dust, fumes, dirt, water, and anything else that can get through. The type of door you have can make all the difference.
Can you Feel Me Now?
Unwelcome temperature and humidity differentials can make a lobby downright inhospitable, which is the last thing a business needs. Yet, with sliding or swinging doors, it happens.
Aside from people feeling uncomfortable, there is a costly load impact to the building’s HVAC system, which must work to replenish the lost conditioned air. A study conducted at MIT in 2006 on a particular building (E25) found that its two revolving doors reduced air infiltration by as much as 8x compared to the swinging doors in the same building.
When it comes to restaurants and retail, the unwelcome guests of outdoor air and wind can have a truly negative impact on revenue. Larger restaurants tend to create a “waiting area” for unseated customers that separates the entrance (and customers) from the dining room. Should the restaurant pay for the extra space of a holding vestibule and get nothing in return? Bonefish Grill started installing revolving doors in 2006, introducing a new concept: customers enter directly into a comfortable, lively bar area via a revolving door. Every square foot of the floorplan is now productive, energized and revenue driven. Ca-ching!
The Sounds of (Not) Silence
No one ever expects to hear outside sounds once they have crossed a threshold to the interior of a building. The idea is to leave the world “out there” behind you and enter a new environment. Haven’t we all experienced entering a nice hotel in a busy downtown area and a jackhammer was within a hundred feet? Every time that sliding door stayed open due to guests constantly coming in and out, didn’t it sound like you were outside waiting to hail a cab from the street?
Somebody Needs to Clean Up this Mess
Because each of us comes through an entrance only once, we probably don’t think of all the dirt and debris that enters a building lobby from hundreds or even thousands entering each day. Well, the facility manager certainly does. A chain of hospitals in Wisconsin made a simple, yet highly effective, change from entrances with a single sliding door, to a sliding door followed 20 feet farther on with a revolving door.
This single design change had enormous effects for these medical buildings. Not only did the new set-up stop a terrible “wind tunnel” effect employees working in the lobby had to suffer through, but the Facility Manager noticed almost immediately another unexpected benefit. The distance between the sliding door and the revolving door created a vestibule, and combined with the right kind of flooring, nearly everything coming from the outside stayed outside (in the vestibule) and the lobby remained much cleaner.
Whew, What’s that Smell?
This is another unwanted guest that most building designers do not consider when they specify a door, and this one attacks our sense of smell. There are entire towns with commercial buildings, government buildings, hospitals, hotels and universities that are downwind of poultry processing plants, livestock or paper mills. It’s amazing too, that these buildings use swinging or sliding doors that would allow the lobby area to smell terrible too much of the time, because people…use the doors.
Do your Entrance Doors Truly Fit Your Needs?
Choosing the right entrance can make all the difference in solving problems of environment, cleanliness, excessive noise, or noxious smells. Often, the solution is to significantly reduce air infiltration by installing revolving door, or in places with more challenging climates, a combination of a sliding and revolving door. But without a sufficient pain point, decision makers are often hesitant to make the jump to the entrance they really need. Are you grinning and bearing it with the wrong entrance for your building?
Read the complete article as published by Campus Safety Magazine.