Door and Dock Winterization Strategy Yields Efficiency and ROI
11/11/2012 4:41 PM
Going Green and Saving Green with Winterization Strategy
Green practices are sensible practices when it comes to dock operations in commercial and industrial buildings. Investing in making doors and docks energy efficient can return a different kind of green in the form of measurable cost savings. Chicago winters can make keeping cold air out and warm air in a big challenge. Facilities managers can go green and save green with a multi-faceted strategy for tackling the Big Chill.
Missing, damaged, or improperly installed weatherstripping on overhead doors and dock levelers can be costly. A quarter inch gap around a standard 9’ x10’ overhead door and dock leveler is like having a one square foot hole in the wall for cold air and moisture to pour in. The more docks with weatherstripping problems, the higher the energy costs in the facility. On average, effective weatherstripping pays for itself in 2-3 months while increasing comfort inside the facility.
Sectional overhead doors are often specified for upfront cost savings on the doors themselves and not for long term energy advantages. As a result, many commercial and industrial facilities are forced to deal with the shortcomings of doors that meet minimum construction standards but don’t adequately handle the snow, cold, and wind of a typical Chicago winter.
The reason is that many standard sectional doors (pan doors) are constructed as hollow shells with Styrofoam pieces inserted. When pan doors are dented or damaged their thermal resistance decreases. When a damaged overhead door section is replaced with one that doesn’t match the original manufacturer, the door sections may not seal properly resulting in energy loss.
Thermal break, foamed-in-place, insulated overhead doors provide an efficient and cost effective alternative to pan doors. A thermal break is simply a rubber gasket between door sections. The gasket blocks air from passing between door sections whether the door is in motion or not. Foamed-in-place means the door shell is filled with expanding polyurethane which creates a strong, monolithic panel with much better thermal efficiency than pan doors.
Thermal break, foamed-in-place, insulated overhead doors cost marginally more than typical pan doors. But the marginal cost is usually more than made up for with return on investment. Thermal break, foamed-in-place, insulated overhead doors can pay for themselves in as little as 2 years. They’re also more durable and tend to increase the lease and resale value of commercial and industrial properties.
Dock Seals and Shelters
A dock seal is a system of vinyl covered compressed foam padding which lines the edge of a loading dock door. Dock seals are designed to close and protect the gap between the dock door opening and a truck trailer so that the process of loading and unloading isn’t negatively impacted by the elements.
Without efficient seal solutions in place, dock operations are at risk for cold air and snow penetration, energy loss, unsafe loading and unloading conditions, and damage to products and equipment.
Unlike a dock seal, a dock shelter is a structure with a curtain style cover designed to protect the space between a truck trailer and the building from the elements. Dock shelters cannot be used in conjunction with dock seals and vice-versa. Dock shelters are typically installed when dock seals aren’t an effective solution or a building must accommodate a variety of truck styles and sizes.
Experience + Expertise = Effective Winterization Strategy
There are many things you can do to winterize including weatherstripping, replacing old overhead doors, and integrating new & improved dock seals and shelters. But what should you do to maximize your investment and achieve great short and long term results?
Consider the benefits and advantages of an expert solution provider. A qualified commercial & industrial door and dock solution provider can help you design an effective, well balanced winterization strategy that fits your unique operational requirements and delivers long term ROI.
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