Investing in a commercial air barrier system will reward you with a long list of benefits, including reduced energy bills and enhanced occupant comforts to name a couple. Especially if it’s a high-traffic entrance such as front entrance doors or receiving/shipping doors, air barriers can prevent the influx of outside air, thereby maintaining an optimal internal climate control system.
Before you proceed with the project, there are several factors that merit your consideration so that you can reap the maximum benefits out of your investment:
1. Purpose of Air Barriers
It’s critical to gain the complete understanding of how air barriers can be useful before making a final decision. The air barriers such as those from Enershield are installed on the inside of doors to curb the amount of heat or cold lost through open doors. The fans are distributed evenly across the opening to create an orderly flow and pressure. Through sound dampening, the levels of noise emanating from motors and fans are minimal to the barrier they generate. Moreover, the air barriers will keep the dust and odours away from the staff, customers and valuable merchandise. Working in tandem with existing HVAC systems in place, the air barriers can lower the building operating costs significantly.
2. Finding the Right Air Barrier
Air leakage is a major contributor to the increased HVAC loads. Finding the right air barrier is of utmost importance to ensure the success of your investment. Enershield air barriers are individually designed to support various retail, commercial and industrial applications and restrict up to 90 percent of outside air. This means you could save 15 to 20 units of energy for each 1 unit consumed. Apart from the readily available units, you can also get air barriers custom manufactured to fit into your distinct requirements.
Here are some factors to be kept in mind when selecting an air barrier:
- The width of the door and its characteristics such as revolving, manual/automatic operation, etc.
- The location of the building to identify the level of protection required against humidity, wind and temperature.
- The difference in pressure between the outside and inside of the building
- Type of business, decoration and style of premises.
- If the building has many doors positioned in the same area, the opposite or different facade.
Some installations with extreme wind situations can compromise the air protection, so make sure you go with the correct model to suit your exact needs.
3. Performance Requirements
Prior to settling on any air barrier system, keep the performance expectations clear to avoid any surprises later on. Basically, there are 3 main performance-related requirements for air barriers, namely air infiltration resistance, structural integrity and durability.
Air infiltration refers to the prerequisite that the air barrier must hold against the existing airflow. Although there are no nation-level mandatory requirements in this regard, individual provinces have adopted certain energy codes that necessitate air tightness and have introduced guidelines to ensure air infiltration resistance of air barrier assemblies.
Structural integrity means the air barrier system must be able to withstand the expected pressure loads without rupture or displacement. To ensure this, air barriers must be installed strictly in accordance with the instructions issued by the manufacturer. Finally, it must be durable and must endure environmental exposure including UV rays, mechanical pressure and thermal cycles.
4. Knowledge of Air Barrier Technology
Air transfer occurs on doorways due to three factors:
Temperature difference: This effect happens when warm air seeps through the top of the door and gets replaced by cold air entering at the bottom. The bigger the temperature difference, the bigger the air infiltration and energy losses.
Stack effect, draughts and wind: When adjusting the outlet discharge angle and the air jet strength, the air barrier or air curtain can prevent against forced air movement like draughts and wind. When the velocity of incoming air exceeds the limit, the air curtain may become less efficient.
Pressure difference: It’s important to offset the pressure differences because it can impact the performance of air barriers. However, in some conditions such as clean zones, it’s essential to maintain a little pressure difference to avert particles coming in from outside.
Also, if your facility has negative air-pressure due to other means, such as poor HVAC systems or other ventilation units, this can greatly reduce air barriers performance.
Simply put, the efficiency of any air curtain depends on the adequate optimization of the following factors: airspeed, fan type, air volume, and turbulence of the jet.
5. The Expertise of Installation
A fully efficient and correctly installed air barrier system can pave the way for huge savings in the long run by reducing the air loss through open doors. Ergo, ensure the installation company has the required experience and expertise. Take some time to research thoroughly and peruse the various companies to find the one that has been proven to get the job done to your complete satisfaction.
With immense construction and installation experience, the NEX Industrial Team understands the importance of creating a safe and comfortable workplace while reducing energy costs to confirm your investment was made correctly. Right from identifying the appropriate air barrier solution for your requirements, to preventative maintenance, our team will be there 24/7 to assist you at every step.