Architectural revolving doors have long been known for their energy conservation abilities; now, with rising airborne pollution levels, these entrance doors are getting recognised for their health benefits too.

Revolving doors create healthier building interiors by functioning effectively as airlocks without impeding smooth pedestrian flows while saving money on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). By keeping expensive cool air locked in during warmer days to reduce air-conditioning costs, and keeping cold air out during the cold season to reduce heating costs, revolving doors can significantly save money on energy bills.

The ‘Always Open, Always Closed’ principle of revolving doors also helps keep out a whole host of airborne pollutants, allergens and irritants, both natural and man-made, ranging from traffic particulates, dust, smoke and fumes through to allergens that can aggravate respiratory issues arising seasonally and during different weather conditions.

Keeping airborne pollution out of the built environment

Airborne pollution in urban environments emanates from different sources. While industrial areas on the outskirts of cities have high levels of industrial pollutants, inner city and CBD areas have to suffer carbon emissions from vehicle exhaust expelled by millions of vehicles on the road.

“Pollution and energy-efficiency have profound sustainability implications of which architects, engineers, builders and building managers and owners are already well aware. Whether it is an office building, shop, hotel, educational or health facility, specifiers and building operators appreciate there is a Duty of Care to keep their buildings healthy,” says Boon Edam Australia managing director Michael Fisher.

“We don’t pretend for a moment that one solution can be a silver bullet for interior sustainability issues – this is a multi-tiered issue – but we do say that revolving doors have inherent advantages that increasingly suit our built environments.

“You often hear doctors advising people to stay indoors during times of high pollution, or weather that stirs up allergens including pollen, which can particularly affect people suffering from hay fever (allergic rhinitis). It affects about 18 per cent of people in Australia and New Zealand.”

Always Open, Always Closed

Specialising in providing entrance technologies for various Fortune 500 companies in 27 countries globally, Boon Edam is making available features to optimise the inherent heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and pollution exclusion advantages of revolving doors. The company is also offering OEM-standard maintenance packages that optimise the HVAC performance and operating durability of revolving doors.

Fisher explains that larger buildings, especially, can make substantial savings on HVAC costs by installing revolving doors, which cut off the air path between the outside of the building and the inside, unlike sliding doors, for instance.

The ‘Always Open, Always Closed’ pollution exclusion benefits apply to a host of major government, corporate, retail, data centre and hospitality buildings in high-rise areas, as well as buildings typically in middle and outer suburbs housing the young, elderly and infirm, including schools, universities, institutions, transport terminals, hospitals and aged care facilities.

HVAC systems are responsible for a significant part of a large building’s operational costs. The Australian Department of Environment and Energy has estimated that HVAC represents 39 per cent of the typical energy consumption breakdown of an office building, well ahead of the 25 per cent for lighting, 22 per cent for equipment and 4 per cent for lifts. To meet sustainability and green building goals, it’s important to prevent HVAC losses through inefficient doors at such facilities.

“These figures don’t begin to take into account the human and financial cost of illness for people working in environments that are less than ideally healthy. This is a very real issue for the numbers of people with upper respiratory tract issues and allergies, which account for several million visits a year to doctors in Australasia,” Fisher concluded.