Sunday, March 06, 2011

You Spin Me Round.

I'm going to take a moment of your time to talk about revolving doors.

If, 130 years ago, Herr Bockhacker of Berlin had the epiphany to invent a draftless door because it was a good sense to keep the out-of-doors isolated from the indoors, why is this not a common goal for us today, the more modern (and not just money-conscious but also) energy-conscious citizens of the world?

After the tragedy at the Cocoanut Grove in 1942, planners were far more conscious about not just energy savings, but also emergency traffic flow, so now, in most places, it is illegal to not pair revolving doors with a requisite number of regularly-hinged doors as well. This offers most patrons a choice.

Choosing the revolving doors maintains what is basically an airlock. Just as an airlock in a submarine or a shuttle bay, it travails to keep two atmospheres apart. In the winter, it keeps in the warm, and in the summer, it keeps in the cool. It's the same reason you wouldn't leave a window open when you're cranking the heat or AC in your own home.

Also, you might notice that sometimes when you use a regular hinged door, it's difficult to pull it open or it might be slow to close on its own - this is because the two atmospheres are fighting with one another to equalize two pressures through that breach. Once the door closes again, the building's environmental controls have to redouble their efforts to reclaim the balance they once had. (Want more? Read about chimney effect, which can be designed into sustainable houses as a low-tech cooling device.)

The upshot is: if you have a choice between a regular door and a revolving door, please always choose the spinny route.

1 comment:

David S. said...