What to Consider When Buying a New Door: Insulation and Energy Efficiency

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Green Front Door

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Most purchases you make on a daily basis if given more consideration could result in you reducing your carbon footprint. There are always more energy efficient ‘greener’ alternatives, the problem is knowing about them. The DIY and home improvement industry is no different; most of us just look for the cheapest or closest solution without giving a second thought to the environmental consequences. Its hard enough trying to find a solution without having to think about finding a ‘green’ alternative as well…

Front doors are a prime example of this issue; being a fairly large expense and one that is a pretty personal choice for each customer. Front doors unbenownst to most consumers are also responsible for up to 20% of a homes energy loss; making them a pretty big black mark on most home’s energy bill.  Whilst being responsible for a large proportion of your home’s energy use, they are also relatively easy to change and thus an excellent target for any environmentlaly conscious home owner.

This article aims to provide information on what to look for when buying a new ‘green’ front door. Hopefully enabling you to find the right looking door for your home and also do your bit for the environment as well.



The single most important value to look for when buying your new door. U-values are the measurement of heat transfer through a given building material, glass, etc. The lower the U-value, the less energy you will need to heat/cool your home subsequently reducing your carbon footprint. All energy star rated doors will also come with a National Fenestration Rating Council U-factor rating, which reprasents the performance of the entire door (not just glass). There isn’t a maximum U-value rating in the US yet, however In the UK all new doors installed in new homes must adhere to a U-value rating of 1.8W/m2K or less.

NB: Make sure prior to purchase that the door company you use issues a certificate of U-value compliance with each door.


Solar heat gain coefficient

If you would like your new front door to contain glass then it is worth looking into the solar heat gain coefficient of that glass. The solar heat gain coefficient is a number which reflects how much heat will transfer through glass. The higher the SHGC the more heat is let in and is thus more useful in colder climates. In contrast if you live in a hot climate you may want a low SHGC so your home stays cooler longer.



When looking for an energy efficient front door there are really only two materials which can achieve a low enough U-value; UPVC and composite. Wooden doors whilst looking great are extremely inefficient when it comes to the transfer of heat. UPVC (Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) doors are typically white and have a slight plasticy look to them, which makes them typically less expensive. Composite doors take their name from the various materials which make up the inside of the door. Composite doors are typically more expensive but tend to have a higher quality finish, including pretty convincing wood grains.


Interactive calculators

All this talk of U-values and coefficients might seem a bit confusing. Which is why a number of front door manufacturers have built interactive tools allowing you to  calculate the energy efficiency of your new door prior to purchase. Some online tools will also allow you to import a picture of the front of your home allowing you to visulise how the door will look once installed.

These tips on buying an energy efficient door were brought to you by Yale Composite Doors. All Yale front doors are U-value compliant and meet strict police security standards.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

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