Why using Air Curtains is critical to conserving energy

Frico Fact Sheet

Air curtains provide a vital layer of protection against inevitable energy losses from doors and openings, even for facilities vigilant with keeping their doors closed. Here’s why correctly installed air curtains are crucial to unlocking greater energy savings and sustainable operations.

Significant savings from closing doors and placing air curtains

The inevitable energy losses from intentional and unintentional air leakages through doors, entrances and openings of buildings cannot be ignored in today’s era of rising energy prices and the urgent need for more sustainable practices.

Some may argue that investing in and installing new technology to save energysounds counter-intuitive. However, numerous studies by reputable organisations worldwide and real-life case studies have confirmed how air curtains provide an added layer of protection and savings in the long term, even for facilities vigilant with keeping their doors closed.

As an invisible door, air curtains create an air barrier to protect premises and rooms. A correctly installed air curtain will reduce draughts, create a comfortable indoor environment, and reduce energy losses at doors and doorways.

AMCA’s in-depth study

AMCA (Air Movement and Control Association) has conducted a comprehensive study that has measured a building’s overall energy consumption and compared the results obtained at an entrance without an air curtain, with an air curtain and a vestibule, a two-door entrance. The results show that an air curtain provides approximately 65% protection against the infiltration of outside air, compared with the second most effective protection - a vestibule, which only provides 23% protection against infiltration. The simulations took a variety of scenarios, such as cli mate zones, summer and winter, balanced and unbalanced ventilation, wind stresses and the number of people passing through the entrance per hour, into account.

The study also tested pure energy savings and calculated and analysed a model of a medium-sized office with a balanced ventilation system and a n average of 100 people passing per hour. The results show that the total energy consumption of the building was less, with an air curtain at the entrances of both buildings with a normal entrance and a vestibule. Above all, the air curtain was superior in colder climates, where energy savings were achieved through less infiltration, leading to less heating.

(Read the full report here)

A vital tool for real-world projects

In 2022, the Dutch association Vereniging Binnenklimaat Nederland developed the Energy Saving Air Curtains Calculation Tool. The calculation tool is based on the ISSO-110 standard and programmed by TNO, looking into energy savings from air curtains in six simple steps while considering ener gy costs and CO₂ emissions. This user-friendly, versatile tool formats the calculation based on the submitted building properties, such as the size and type of the building opening, how often it is open, the type of heating system of a building, and the energy prices. Experts can even go deeper into the calculation tool and adjust technical parameters.

Vereniging Binnenklimaat Nederland also published an example that looked at a typical shop heated by central gas-fired heating, conservative usage times, as the door opened 2 hours a day, at an average opening time of 9 hours a day, six days a week. The tool puts the cost of ener gy loss without air curtains at EUR 2,005, annual cost savings with air curtains at EUR 1,281 and yearly C O₂ savings at 2,322 KG. In busier stores, the number of hours the door opens will increase, meaning the savings will grow. The report adds that these figures were already significant with 2021 energy rates and that current energy prices will also ensure more savings.

Read the full report, here.

A demonstration of efficient cooling in the Middle East

Mechartés, an advanced engineering services company specialising in mathematical modelling and engineering simulations, conducted a CFD analysis (Computational Fluid Dynamics) on a retail store in a petrol station in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The CFD Analysis demonstrated how an air curtain significantly reduced the exchange of air-conditioned air from the inside and hot air from the outside.

The Analysis further showed significant energy and economic savings and an improved indoor climate in an environment with outside temperatures reaching up to 46 degrees C. The CFD analysis shows that efficient air curtains helped keep air-conditioned spaces cool even in extreme conditions with a temperature difference of 22 degrees C. The analysis further highlighted the importance of a correctly performed installation to achieve optimal effect.

Read the full report, here.

Large problems require fitting solutions

While closing doors is a good and necessary measure, it should not be the only one. At the end of the day, it is vital to be realistic concerning the amount of energy saved by only closing doors. If reducing energy losses is the priority, as it should be in the face of global trends, the proper solutions must be implemented. Even for common uses of doors, investing in air curtains still offers the best way to reduce energy costs while making the built environment more sustainable by reducing CO₂.