Environmentally friendly doors for the home
Are you looking for a green door for a more energy efficient home? Whether you are trying to design a green home or simply make it more energy efficient, the doors you choose to implement into your plan play a very important role in more ways than one!
The easiest way to create an energy efficient home is by following the guidelines already provided by ENERGY STAR. Many door manufacturers today are working to comply with ENERGY STAR's guidelines in order to meet today's demand for green building technology.
Energy Efficient Exterior Doors
In most cases ENERGY STAR doors relate to doors which also include a window. In the past these doors would release a great amount of heat through these windows therefore door manufacturers today have much improved their product to become energy efficient.
For exterior doors to be qualified for an ENERGY STAR rating they are required to have:
- Weather Stripping- All new doors must have very tight weather stripping. Some frames now include a magnetic strip to help make a tighter seal. A tight seal around the door frame reduces the leakage of air and ultimately heat resulting in a more energy efficient product.
- Multiple Glass Panes- ENERGY STAR rated doors must have double or triple-paned glass windows which are also insulated to protect from heat loss.
- Core Material- The core material of the door must also act as insulation to prevent heat loss. Many doors now have cores made with fiberglass, wood fibre and polyurethane foam which provide excellent insulation.
ENERGY STAR rated doors also vary depending on where you live. There are certain requirements for various regions in North America to account for extreme weather differences. For more information visit the web site for ENERGY STAR.
Exterior Green Doors
Even if your new exterior door meets the standards of ENERGY STAR it does not mean that your door is eco-friendly! Certain things to look for are:
- Wood - If purchasing a Wood door, insist that the wood has been certified by a sustainable forest governing body.
- Vinyl - Try not to purchase a door which uses vinyl. Be aware that some steel and fiberglass doors are protected with vinyl coatings.
- Insulation - For the most part almost all insulated exterior doors are insulated with a polymer foam board of either polyurethane or polystyrene. If you can find a door made with biofoam insulation please let us know!!
- Built to Last - Possibly the most important consideration for an exterior green door is that it lasts a lifetime and will not have to be replaced. Invest in a quality product and reduce waste.
Exterior door manufacturers are making an effort to change their practices however there is still a need for more environmentally friendly insulation, finishes and protective coatings.
Types of Exterior Green Doors for the Home
Depending on your taste and where you live will result in the exterior door that is right for your home.
A wood exterior door is a classic and beautiful entry piece for the home but they can also be troublesome. Wood doors can have the tendency to warp and crack. It is very important that you choose a manufacturer that can warrantee their product for you.
Wood doors must be maintained properly to prolong their life. In order for them to be ENERGY STAR compliant they must also have a solid insulated core. Wood exterior doors in the past were a well known contributor to heat loss within the home. Today they are built much differently and can qualify as an ENERGY STAR rated product.
Alternative Timber Structures, Inc. is a door manufacturing company that is producing well constructed wood exterior doors. More importantly they are also making doors out of recycled wood from factories, shipyards and barns! Contact them to learn how you can have a costume made recycled wood exterior door.
Steel is another common material used for exterior doors. They are very secure, strong and durable although they are capable of being dented. Well made steel exterior doors are also rust and corrosion resistant.
Steel doors are often considered to be more secure and are recommended for use in areas subject to harsh weather conditions such as hurricanes and tornados.
Steel doors are very cost effective and energy efficient as well when built with an insulated core.
Steel doors are easily recycled. In fact you can also purchase exterior doors made from recycled steel! An excellent example of environmentally conscious steel door construction is Hope's Steel and Bronze and Doors. They choose to use 100% recycled steel for their exterior doors offering triple weather stripping and hazardous free air pollutant paint applications. Check out their eco-friendly recycled steel exterior doors!
Fiberglass entry doors are another option for home owners who enjoy the look and feel of wood but require something more secure.
Fiberglass is an extremely durable product that resembles wood. These doors are designed to resemble a wood door in every way from paneling to even a wood grain texture.
Most fiberglass doors qualify for ENERGY STAR and can last a lifetime which is a benefit to the environment.
Green Garage Doors
One space that is always overlooked is the garage. The garage can be an enormous waste of energy if it is directly attached to the home. It is important to consider the most energy efficient door for your garage to help reduce heat loss and decrease your energy consumption.
The Overhead Door specializes in garage doors for the home. They offer a fantastic green option for home owners called the EcoBuilt door. This door is made from 81% Douglas-fir which was reclaimed from mills! These door panels are also made from 100% recycled wood fibre and are certified by SCS.
It is also very important to insulate your garage door especially in a cold climate to maximize your energy saving potential. Contact Overhead Door to learn more about eco-friendly garage doors!
Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding glass doors can be found in almost every home and it is no wonder as they allow the natural beauty of the outdoors to enter the indoors while also adding natural light into the space as well.
In the past glass was the worst offender in energy efficiency as heat could easily escape. Today however sliding glass doors and glass walls are much more complex keeping up to energy efficient standards while keeping ultraviolet rays at bay.
Sliding glass doors gain their UV protection strength from low-e glass coatings. These coatings reflecting light. It can work in two ways, first by reflecting the light inside the home to help reduce energy loss during the colder parts of the year, Second by reflecting heat from the outside reducing solar heat gain which in effect reduces cooling costs.
Heat is lost through empty air space within each panel of glass. Another way to further improve the efficiency of your glass doors and walls is by purchasing doors which have been filled with Argon or Krypton Gas. The gas replaces the empty air and helps to reduce the overall transfer of heat. Both gasses are clear, odorless and most importantly are non-toxic!
For a sexy green home consider installing Nanawall! This company specializes in super stunning glass door and glass wall systems. Visit them to learn more about eco-friendly glass wall systems.
Another fantastic eco-friendly exterior/interior door material is Medium Density Fibre board (MDF). This is a material that can achieve almost anything!
MDF is an engineered wood product that is created from recovered wood fibres. It is incredibly easy to work with, easy to paint and much more affordable. ** MDF has been made in the past with formaldehyde. Watch for companies who are still using this product as it can be a health risk.
Trustile is a door manufacturing company with an green attitude. All of their MDF doors are environmentally friendly, certified by SCS constructed with 82% recycled material. They offer a no-added formaldehyde MDF option and manufacture their product with low-emitting adhesives. They have an amazing amount of stunning styles available, a true friend of a sexy green home owner and builder!
Polyurethane Foam Core Insulation for Exterior Doors
Unfortunately one of the best insulated doors on the market today is made with polyurethane foam board. Polyurethane is a foam insulation that can have a low-conductivity gas (typically hydro chlorofluorocarbons or HCFC) as some polyurethane foam is made with HCFC's, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) and formaldehyde.
Although the U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency does say that the majority of off gassing (or thermal drift) occurs in the first two years of being manufacture red, it does remain and can contribute to toxins being released in the home.
It is important to note however that this is not the case with all manufacturers.
Many manufacturers are now opting to use foam that does not contain HCFC', CFC's or formaldehyde in an effort to make their product cleaner and safer.
Polyurethane foam is an incredible insulator, an ideal product for wood, steel and fiberglass exterior doors
Polystyrene is another common polymer used for insulation of exterior doors as well. Although similar to polyurethane it is composed differently and is said to be not as efficient as polyurethane.
According to the Center for the polyurethane's industry, " At the end of their service life, polyurethane's can be sent for reuse (for example, rebonding) or chemical recycling*, or can be incinerated for energy recovery. In many cases, polyurethane's can be just as valuable after they have served their intended purpose and are ready to be discarded."
Although the polyurethane industry has made many environmental advances to improve and adapt their product to remain competitive, it is still a chemically produced product with certain negatives. The plus side is that you can significantly reduce energy and heat loss within the home by installing a polyurethane foam core exterior door, and that's a really great thing.
** Tips on recycling old doors
If you are considering a renovation and need a solution for recycling your old doors, look for a ReUse warehouse in your area. These warehouses are set up to receive and collect renovation project overruns and rejects, business and industry waste so that it can be reused by schools and artists.
Who would have thought there would be this much to consider when purchasing a green door?? Choosing the right exterior doors for an energy efficient house is a very important step and they most defiantly do not have to be ugly!!
To be even more creative check out some on-line salvage sights to find used doors. They may not be efficient for an exterior job but they might be fantastic as a unique interior door.
Find more ways to save energy with environmentally friendly windows & skylights