How does your business use technology to attain its goals? Every company does, whether we’re talking about the point of sale systems in a retail store or the walk-in refrigerators in a restaurant. From high-tech to low-tech, businesses rely on a myriad assortment of devices and appliances every day. Some have a bigger impact on operations than others — such as your heating and cooling systems. Essential as they for comfort, they also cost money to run. Cooling costs can constitute a substantial portion of a business’s annual energy expenses. So, what can you do to get them under control?
Perhaps you’ve heard that air curtains are one solution. Mounted above a door, the concept is simple: each time the door opens, the air curtain turns on to create an invisible separation between the outside and the indoors. Over time, the reasoning goes, this can help to save a substantial amount in energy costs. How can be that be, though? At first, it might seem counter-intuitive. Aren’t you also paying for the electricity it takes to operate the curtain? Doesn’t that add up, especially if the door opens very frequently? It can seem that way, but a more in-depth look at the details tells the real story. Looking at what’s actually going on here is the best place to start.
What Happens When a Door Opens?
On its face, this question might seem absurdly simple. Consider this, though: every time a patron or employee opens an exterior door and comes inside, a portion of the air-conditioned air inside the building will rush out due to both the potential difference in air pressure between the exterior and interior alongside the natural flow of air with a temperature difference. Cold air rushes outward near the bottom of the door, while hotter air seeps indoors from the top regardless of whether it’s your front door or the door to a walk-in freezer.
In other words, every time the door opens, you lose money. That cold air must be replaced somehow, which means your HVAC system’s cycle time will decrease as it works overtime to keep the space at the appropriate temperature. It could be that without a better way to retain the interior temperature, your energy bills are unnecessarily high. That’s where an air curtain comes into the picture. Using this technology, you can almost entirely stop that exchange, keeping cold air where it belongs: in your business.
How Air Curtains Mitigate Temperature Changes
So, what really happens when an air curtain mounted over a door activates? While it might not feel special as you walk through it, the air flow rushing towards the ground is quite unique. That’s because it exhibits something known as “laminar flow.” This scientific term is really just a fancy way of saying that the air current is completely aligned in one direction; there’s no turbulent side-to-side mixing. The result is a very coherent “sheet” of air calibrated to flow with a velocity strong enough to keep the air on either side of the curtain from moving outward.
It’s this physical separation that reduces both outside air infiltration and the loss of an interior space’s cooled air. According to Berner, an air curtain manufacturer, the right unit can reduce infiltration by up to 80%. That means your HVAC systems faces a much lighter burden, and with less air escaping, it doesn’t need to work as hard to keep your space comfortable.
The Long-Term Benefits of Using an Air Curtain
Air curtains aren’t just for restaurant and cooler doors, either; they’re perfect for many applications. From large office buildings to warehouses and industrial spaces, this technology can cut energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. In one Berner case study, a major convention center in Chicago was able to generate annual savings valued at a whopping $70,000 after installing large air curtains over the facility’s loading dock doors. Many other case studies bear out the same truth and even demonstrate that the savings can extend to the wintertime when indoor heating is in use.
Not only can such savings pay for the equipment rapidly, but operational costs are low over the lifespans of each unit. Maintenance needs are low, with an infrequent need for repairs, and the energy required to run the air curtain is far smaller than what an HVAC system requires. Alongside serving as a tool for cost-cutting, curtains come with plenty of ancillary benefits, too, from reducing dust infiltration to blocking flying pests such as mosquitoes from entering the premises.
With successful use cases in an innumerable amount of location, air curtains can be a business’s best bet when it comes to driving down utility costs. While it may not necessarily mean the difference between a profit and a loss, better controlling your cooling costs can provide much-needed budgetary space or just some comfortable breathing room. Achieving the desired effect with an air curtain, though, does require making the right choice among the products available on the market.
At Air Door Distributors, we have a wealth of experience and an array of industry-leading products ready to help your company retake control of its energy spending. To explore which air curtains would work best for your business or to learn more about their operation, please reach out to our team today.