Air Curtains at Building Openings
194: Air Curtains vs. Vestibules
A thin curtain of conditioned air blown down just inside of exterior doors that keeps outside air from blowing into commercial buildings when doors are open.
An air curtain is a thin curtain of conditioned air blown down just inside of exterior doors to keep outside air from blowing into commercial buildings when the doors are open. Air curtains have been used for many years in industrial and warehouse spaces, especially those with large garage doors but are underutilized in commercial applications.
Since 2010, international and most state energy codes have required vestibules at doors opening into spaces larger than 3,000 square feet, such as stores, hotel lobbies, and fast food store drive-through windows. Research shows that air curtains are less expensive and significantly more energy efficient than vestibules. Using air curtains instead of vestibules could save commercial/industrial building owners tens of thousands of dollars in construction costs and significantly reduce heating and cooling energy use. Code officials can be apprached to approve this alternative by providing evidence of the energy saving equivalency, such as with the resources provided below.
Many buildings in the existing inventory are not required to meet new energy code requirements, including buildings with interior spaces less than 3,000 square feet (such as drive-up windows at banks) and larger buildings not experiencing a major retrofit.
Energy Savings: 4%
Energy Savings Rating:
Comprehensive Analysis What's this?
|1||Concept not validated||Claims of energy savings may not be credible due to lack of documentation or validation by unbiased experts.|
|2||Concept validated:||An unbiased expert has validated efficiency concepts through technical review and calculations based on engineering principles.|
|3||Limited assessment||An unbiased expert has measured technology characteristics and factors of energy use through one or more tests in typical applications with a clear baseline. |
|4||Extensive assessment||Additional testing in relevant applications and environments has increased knowledge of performance across a broad range of products, applications, and system conditions. |
|5||Comprehensive analysis||Results of lab and field tests have been used to develop methods for reliable prediction of performance across the range of intended applications.|
|6||Approved measure||Protocols for technology application are established and approved.|