RUBB

Much has been written about the benefits of appropriate warehouse and factory doors yet the message of their quick payback value is still not getting through to many users, says Ed Wilks, operations manager for Sara LBS. “Alem* members frequently find that doors are overlooked during the specification stage of new premises and then only considered when they require maintenance,” he says. New environmental legislation, like the Energy Act 2011, suggests that the days are numbered for such insouciance.

The Energy Act will make it unlawful to let buildings with F and G rated energy performance certificates after April 2018. This is why it is so important that warehouse owners and operators should identify which of their premises are at risk of falling foul of this new legislation and put a plan in place to improve the future environmental performance of their properties. The parties responsible for this will depend, in many cases, on the terms and conditions of the lease.

The problem is huge. Government figures suggest that as much as 18% of buildings with an energy performance certificate fall into the bottom two categories, spread across all asset classes. The warehouse sector alone is responsible for 10.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, or 3% of the UK’s total output, but a recent report suggests 16% of this could be cut, mainly through improved heat and light efficiency such as doors.

Leaving the solution to the last minute invites high statutory compliance costs so it makes far better sense to identify the reasons for poor performance now and carry out efficiency improvements during routine maintenance or periodic refits. It’s also important that landlords of D and E rated buildings don’t become complacent because falling values will affect them too over time as regulations get more stringent.

Undoubtedly a key weapon against the war on energy waste is efficient door technology. Lighting is often cited as the biggest warehouse energy user, typically accounting for 60% of total energy costs, but what warehouse operators may not know is the capacity for a well-installed, appropriate door to provide thermal insulation, saving huge amounts of thermal regulation each year. A good example of this are the ‘eco’-breweries’ which are using low carbon insulations and natural cooling, including a living sedum roof, to eliminate the need for electrical cooling systems. The correct room temperature is maintained without the use of any electrical chillers, but the system can only work with adequate isolation from outside air temperature, making the door’s thermal efficiency of critical importance.

When considering doors it is crucial to avoid cheap manufacturers and get feedback from existing door users through site visits. The leading door producers who are ALEM members will be happy to expedite these visits and carry out free energy audits of prospective customer’s sites, showing a payback chart.

A good point to bear in mind when choosing rapid roll pvc doors is their damage recovery times. Traditional sliding, insulated  doors on openings to industrial freezers can be the cause of high energy loss, partly because they are prone to impact damage which could mean the thermal seal is compromised for an uncomfortably long time. Leading door makers provide their rapid roll doors with crash out capabilities, which means repair is quick but it is also important to choose a good quality door as these will withstand most knocks better than cheap makes.

Doors are like forklifts in that users still place initial cost price as their top priority, when they should be looking instead at the life cycle costs because the on-going costs for constant call-outs, repairs and parts can be astronomical.

* Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment Manufacturers.

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