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Revolving Doors for a Greener, More Secure Environment

Author: J Elias Campos, VP Marketing & NPD Engineering

What makes a revolving door unique? Is it because it’s always open (receptive to pedestrians) and always closed (shielding occupants from the outside elements)? Is it due to it being the only entrance door solution that actually pays for itself over time?

Revolving doors are essentially a free-standing vestibule that are eight times more energy efficient than either a slide or swing door system. On top of meeting the demands of energy efficiency and architectural appeal, revolving doors create comfort, improve traffic flow and increase security.

Saves Energy and Money with Every Turn

The revolving door was invented in 1888 to alleviate several problems associated with conventional doors. By serving as an airlock, a revolving door prevents the free exchange of air to minimize temperature variations between the building and the outside environment. This increases the comfort of the building occupants while conserving natural resources.

Do revolving doors really save money? The answer is a definitive YES. Studies conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and ASHRAE have demonstrated that revolving doors are indeed a significant source of energy savings and, hence, a contributor toward a LEED sustainable design.

The study concluded that the amount of energy to cool or warm a building is directly related to the amount of air exchanged to or from the building. Since revolving doors yield a better airlock than traditional swing or sliding doors, it follows that the energy required to keep the building at a preset temperature is lower than using a traditional entrance.

There are several factors involved in determining the savings:

  • Location of the entrance (weather conditions)
  • Number of hours the entrance is in operation (traffic)
  • Desired temperature inside the facility
  • Humidity and wind speed
  • Building height/size
  • Cost of energy

For an example of how to calculate energy savings provided by replacing a vestibule entrance with sliding doors with a 3-wing revolving door, please download this Energy Savings Simulation.


EasyFlow® Series 9900 for Optimal Airlock

With the intelligence to return home automatically, the Horton Series 9900 EasyFlow® takes the concept of the revolving door one step further by creating an optimized, energy-efficient airlock after each use. The door’s advanced airlock sealing improves traffic management; prevents the influx of air, debris and noise; and maximizes energy savings.

The EasyFlow manual revolving door system features a Power-Assisted Home Positioning System known as RTQP (Return-to-Quarter-Point). As pedestrians approach the door, a gentle push of the wing sets the door in motion, allowing easy passage to/from the building. Then it continues to rotate automatically until the home position is reached. 

When in the home position, the door system is always open to pedestrians with negligible air loss, yet always closed for minimal air infiltration. EasyFlow minimizes temperature variations, while maximizing comfort and energy savings.

Learn more about the EasyFlow® for optimal airlock and energy savings.

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In many cases, there is a need to provide a more secure environment than a security slide or swing door can provide, especially in sensitive applications such as corporate headquarters, airports and dormitories. A revolving door has the unique ability to provide both security and energy efficiency in one product and at a lower cost of ownership.

Even when a security slide or swing comes equipped with a card reader and the necessary magnetic lock or electric strike, it is not safe to assume that it is truly a secure entrance. The deficiency is that once the door is open, there is nothing to prevent multiple people from entering with an authorized person and, thus, a security breach – commonly known as tailgating or piggybacking – can occur.

A security revolving door, on the other hand, has the ability to grant access to one compartment (and hence one person) at a time, effectively preventing tailgating and piggybacking. A security revolving door at a dormitory, for example, may conveniently function as a standard revolving door during the day and a security door at night. Security revolving doors have also become a mainstay at airports which require extraordinary levels of security.


ControlFlow™ One-Way Security Series 9100

After arriving at the final destination and deboarding from their flight, travelers must exit from a secure to a non-secure side of the airport. Many airports have a manned physical barrier to prevent security breaches. However, in recent years, one-way security revolving doors have provided a better solution.

Typically offered in a 3-wing design, the Horton ControlFlow™ One-Way Security Series 9100 revolving door allows travelers to leave the airport through a one-way only exit, eliminating the need for a manned station and freeing up security personnel to be better used elsewhere.

The ControlFlow™ Series 9100 revolving door with object detection has been installed in many airports, including the McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee. The door’s object detection system (in floor and overhead) senses undesirable and dangerous objects while preventing re-entry, shutting the door down and sounding an alarm if something is detected. 

By eliminating the cost of manning the concourse exit lane at McGhee Tyson Airport, the Horton ControlFlow revolving door paid for itself in less than two years. The wide berth of the 6-foot wings comfortably accommodates passengers with disabilities, parents pushing a stroller, and even small families with luggage.


Learn more about the ControlFlow installation at McGhee Tyson Airport.

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Selecting the right revolving door for your application is the key to maximizing energy savings and security for the projects you are designing. Understanding all of the available design options and how they correspond with building use and traffic patterns will be instrumental in selecting the best solution and maximizing your project’s success.

Revolving doors come in 2-, 3- and 4-wing configurations. Each offers a set of unique advantages that the architect typically matches for the design of a building. In addition, the architect has the ability to select either a segmented or round drum and canopy designs.

For an overview of these general design options, download this Revolving Door Selection Guide. For a more detailed discussion of revolving door selection, please contact your local Horton dealer.

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