Technology Advances Improve Performance of Door Hardware Products
Manufacturers are responding to evolving end-user demands by developing door-hardware products and technology that are designed to improve a facility’s overall sustainability and energy efficiency.
“It’s the functioning and proper fit of those products that best contributes to the ability to maintain the environment on the inside versus the outside,” Dalton-Noblitt says.
“There’s been a ton of performance improvements in hardware. Making sure the door closes properly is a critical component to conserving energy. While the product content and metals may not have changed, the performance and reliability of those products to make sure the door shuts correctly have been improved.”
“The most exciting thing that’s come on the marketplace recently,” Smith says, are access-control products that improve energy efficiency.
“I think facility managers will eventually look at (door access) controls the way they look at light bulbs today and say, ‘We just had a light bulb go out, so we’re going to put an LED there,’” Smith says. “In the future, people will say, ‘We just had a mortise lock we need to replace, (so) we’re going to go with the most energy-efficient model available.’ Energy efficiency has come to the forefront.”
Technology improvements in door hardware also aim to address other elements of sustainability, including reduced noise pollution.
New-generation door components are mostly “silent electrification, which improves the performance of the door,” says Jenn Manning with Adams Rite. “You’re not hearing the mechanicals, or all the mechanicals of the hardware, where customers might wonder what’s in there. It’s like it’s not even there.”
To ensure door hardware specified with sustainability in mind actually delivers long-term benefits and performance, managers can incorporate the components into a comprehensive maintenance program.
“A non-functioning door, if you’re not replacing products that are broken, can cost you more over time than the investment in making the right repair,” Dalton-Noblitt says.
“I’m not sure (managers) are aware of that equation. There are a lot of studies these days, especially in the K-12 schools area, where they are trying to understand the deferred maintenance problem. And they’re trying to understand the cost that not making those corrections costs you in the long run in terms of energy, safety, and the cost of the products to replace them.”
Standardizing products throughout can also lower maintenance costs, in part because storerooms will not need to stock replacement parts for myriad door hardware components, and technicians will not need to spend as much time finding the right replacement part for each repair task.
“We talk to folks about the value of standardization, and leveraging the same products across their facilities, so they can be more efficient in their maintenance and repair processes and be proactive in their maintenance,” Dalton-Noblitt says. “It’s a critical element, and not everyone appreciates how much time and effort is required unnecessarily by trying to manage across the variation in their buildings.”