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Energy Efficient Exterior Doors

In October 2010, the British government introduced legislation which specified that all new replacement composite doors must have a U-Value rating of no more than 1.8W/m2K. If you are looking to update your property, and are planning to replace the doors, then you will likely notice that doors come clearly labelled with their ‘U-Value’.

The legislation applies only to composite doors, but it is worth paying attention to the U-Value of your external doors regardless of the material that they are made of, because this value represents the amount of heat transfer that will take place through your doors and windows – essentially, it tells you how well insulated they are, and how energy efficient your property will be. 

Why Energy Efficiency Matters

 All New builds must have part I compliant external doors, as a part of their energy efficiency approach. This includes front doors, back doors and patio doors. Low U-Value external doors will let a lot of heat out during the winter, leaving you with a home that is cold, drafty and expensive to heat.

Insulated external doors are more energy efficient, and will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  You may not think that upgrading your doors and windows will make that much of a difference, but the amount of heat that can be lost through gaps between the door and the frame, or through single-pane glass or poor insulation can be staggering.

Improving Your Energy Rating

The U-Value is used for external doors and windows, and lower values are better. To remove confusion, some companies use the more traditional energy rating scale for windows, with A+ meaning “the best” and G meaning “very poor”.  Buildings, as a whole, can also be rated on the energy efficiency scale.

Good insulation and heat retention can make the difference between needing to turn the heating on during late October, and being comfortable until well into the winter. It can also help to cut down on drafts and even make your home more secure and stop noise pollution too.

Important Considerations

Energy efficient doors come in a range of designs, but not all of them are truly ‘green’. Some important things to look out for include the presence of lead and CFCs. The best doors are both CFC-free and are made with calcium zinc-based compounds which are less damaging to the environment but still hardwearing enough to ensure that the door will last for many years.

Another thing to consider is the carbon footprint that is created through the manufacturing and shipping of the door. If ‘going green’ is important to you, look for a certified energy-efficient door that is made in one location, and then delivered directly to you, reducing the ‘product miles’ as much as possible. It is wasteful to assemble a door, send it to a warehouse, then a showroom, then your home when you could cut down on all that fuel use and time on the road, saving money and protecting the environment at the same time.

Investing in energy efficiency will pay off if you plan on staying in your home for a few years, and upgrading your doors is an affordable and high-impact way of making your home greener.

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