Opening the door to enhanced efficiency and aesthetics

Aesthetics, longevity and security are all key areas to consider when specifying entrance doors, but with continued increases in energy costs, the role of thermal efficiency is taking precedence in the design process, reports David O’Mara of Hörmann UK

Entrance doors in the UK must comply with the British Standards Approved Document L1B, which specifies a maximum U-value of 1.8 W/m².K for the whole door element. However, architects can aid their clients in cutting long term heating costs by choosing innovative products that offer thermal efficiencies that are significantly lower than the national maximum. Traditionally, aluminium entrance doors paved the way for security, but lacked thermal efficiency when compared to their timber counterparts. However, manufacturers are now developing a new generation of high-insulation entrance doors that offer outstanding energy savings, without compromising on the overall security of the door.

Entrance doors are available which are constructed of high strength aluminium, with a high-tech leaf profile made of a carbon glass-fibre hybrid material, to offer U-values as low as 0.47 W/m².K. This is 1.3 W/m².K lower than the industry standard, offering significant potential energy savings. These impressive U-values are achieved through a construction that includes an aluminium door leaf with PU rigid foam infill, an internal leaf profile that is supported by a thermal break, and high stability due to its carbon glass-fibre reinforced composite leaf profile. This can also be combined with an aluminium doorframe featuring a thermal break.

While energy efficiency is taking increasing precedence with homeowners, security shouldn’t of course be compromised. Architects can overcome this issue by recommending solutions which feature RC3 security equipment as standard, combined with a five-point security lock. The door’s profile cylinder can also be protected against manipulation for additional peace of mind. This can be combined with triple-pane thermal insulation glazing that is protected with laminated safety glass on both sides, with an aluminium doorframe with a thermal break for impressive thermal efficiencies. Aluminium entrance doors are a popular choice for architects looking to provide their clients with the most durable and resilient exterior to their new home, as timber and PVCu entrance doors can be subject to discolouration or warping.

Aluminium entrance doors can withstand the harshest of weather conditions, and are also available in a wide range of designs, with the added opportunity of personalisation. Steel entrance doors should also be considered by architects, particularly products that feature up to 65 mm thick door leads with PU rigid foam infills. While these will not offer the lowest U-value of 0.47 W/m².K that can be achieved by an aluminium door, they are still well below the government legislation at 0.87 W/m², while also offering outstanding security benefits. As well as thermal efficiency, aesthetics and visual appeal will always be a deciding factor for consumers when choosing a new entrance door for their property.

Because of this, doors that offer concealed hinges and door profiles are a popular choice for contemporary properties to offer a sleek, streamlined finish. The ability to also choose from a wide range of RAL colours and finishes including matt or high-gloss is important to ensure homeowners can add personality to the exterior of their property. The way homeowners lock and unlock their entrance door should also be considered by architects, as there are a wide range of systems available that offer the highest standards in security and usability. Radio finger scanners, key pads or remote control transmitters are designed to provide homeowners with unrivalled levels of security, supported by apps, which offers the ability to unlock or lock the entrance door remotely throughout the property, whilst also checking the status of the door.

By specifying innovations such as these, architects can offer clients the highest standard in performance and efficiency. Architects can also streamline the design process by using online programmes, which provide the necessary data required at the initial design stages of a build. Planning can be easily achieved using the modern interface, providing tender specifications, images and drawings in both DWG and PDF formats. Ideal for use at the tender and specification stages, it can also provide access to a vast amount of CAD, technical drawings and BIM models.

David O’Mara is marketing manager at Hörmann UK