When you think of eco-friendly practices in your home, you may think of energy-efficient kitchen appliances or insulated windows before your thoughts turn to the garage door. But you shouldn’t leave garage doors out! Eco-friendly practices in choosing garage doors are as important as they are in the rest of the house.
Why? Well, garage doors are one of the biggest openings in any house. The average garage door takes up roughly 400 square feet. The doors exert a lot of influence on letting cold air into the house during the winter and hot air during the summer. In fact, 94 percent of the impact of garage doors on the environment comes from their impact on heat and cold on your house.
If your heat, ventilation and air conditioning systems need to work harder to combat heat and cold coming in from the outside, they will draw more energy. Energy in most homes comes from fossil fuels like oil, natural gas or coal. Fossil fuels send carbon emissions into the air. Those carbon emissions cause global warming.
So actions to minimize the draw on your heating and cooling systems are eco-friendly. There are other environmentally conscious actions you can take with garage doors, too. Let’s look at what you can do to make your garage doors environmentally sound.
Insulate Your Garage Doors
The main thing you can do to reduce the energy draw is to insulate your garage doors. After all, they can take up as much as 30 percent of the front of a home, which is far more than the average front door.
Insulation is usually made from foam. But you can also choose sustainable materials like cotton fiber made from blue jeans. Insulation will reduce the energy draw in your home. It will also reduce the amount you have to run a heater or fan if you do a lot of work there. No more chilly garage in the winter or overly warm garage in the summer!
Consider a Garage Door Without Windows
Windows in a garage door will also let in more outside air than one without windows. Consider buying garage doors without windows to lock in warmed and cooled air. There are many aesthetic choices available in garage doors without windows.
Choose Sustainable Materials for the Door
Sustainable materials are eco-friendly because they don’t contribute to wasting the world’s materials. Many contemporary garage doors are made from sustainable materials such as recycled or reclaimed wood or wood pulp. If you buy a garage door made of virgin wood, you are essentially putting in an order for more trees to be cut down.
Recycled or reclaimed wood reuses already cut material. These doors provide great insulation, too, because the wood materials are combined with wax, resin and other composite materials.
Garage doors are also available in steel and aluminum. Aluminum is the least eco-friendly door choice because it is relatively lightweight and thus provides the least insulation. Steel, because of its heaviness and durability, provides good insulation.
Be sure to consider paint as part of your environmental choices. Choose paints that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful chemicals.
Purchase Environmentally Friendly Garage Door Openers
Don’t overlook the garage door opener! They draw a considerable amount of energy. To counterbalance that, you have two choices. The first is to choose a garage door opener designed to use very low power on standby. The second is to choose a solar-powered garage door opener. A solar-powered device uses no fossil fuels.
It’s important to have an eco-friendly home. Don’t overlook the garage doors, which are likely the largest opening in the house. Choose garage doors with good insulation. Pick an environmentally friendly material for the doors. Last but not least, choose a low standby or solar-powered garage door opener.