As the main portals between the inside of your home and the world outside, exterior doors can have a major impact on your home’s energy usage. If your doors are older, beginning to deteriorate, or if there are any gaps around the frame or threshold, they are probably not insulating your home effectively—which could lead to higher utility costs as you will need to run your heating and air conditioning more in order to maintain a comfortable interior temperature. Therefore, replacing your exterior doors can help you save money in the long run while also serving as an opportunity to give your home a stylish new look.

With so many different types of exterior doors available, it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing the best options for your home. At the Window & Door Store, we’ve compiled the following overview to help guide you in selecting the most energy-efficient exterior doors.

Most energy-efficient door materials

With the exception of doors that are primarily made of glass (such as sliding, French, and bi-fold doors), exterior doors are generally available in three types of material: wood, fiberglass, and steel. While each of these materials carries its own pros and cons, fiberglass is regarded as the most energy-efficient option on the market today.

As a naturally poor conductor of heat, a fiberglass door will help your home stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Known for offering high performance with minimal maintenance, these doors can be outfitted with a polyurethane core for added insulation. Other benefits of fiberglass include its resistance to warping, cracking, denting, and splitting—thereby ensuring a long lifespan and solid return on investment—and various types of finishes to choose from, including those that mimic different wood grains.

As for the other types of exterior door materials, steel performs better than wood, but is generally less energy-efficient than fiberglass because it tends to absorb heat and cold from the outside.

Can glass doors be energy-efficient?

From sliding doors to entry doors with glass panels, many people choose exterior doors with glass as a way to let natural light into their homes and diminish the boundary between indoors and out. Typically, the more glass involved, the less energy-efficient the door will be—but there are certain qualities that will improve the energy-saving potential of glass. For instance, look for the following when comparing different products:

  • Low-E coatings. A low-emissivity (low-E) coating is a colorless, microscopically thin, nontoxic metal or metallic oxide layer that can affect the ways in which heat energy from the sun moves around. Specifically, it will reflect the sun’s heat and UV rays away from the home during warmer months, while reflecting them back inside when it’s cold out. In addition to reducing energy consumption and contributing to a more comfortable indoor temperature, low-E coatings can help protect your flooring and furnishings from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
  • Multiple panes. Whether used in windows or doors, single pane glass does not provide much insulation from the elements. Instead, look for products with double- or triple-pane glass, which features an air-filled space between the panes that will trap hot or cold air from the outside and prevent it from entering your home. For maximum energy efficiency, make sure that this air-filled space contains a gas such as argon or krypton. These nontoxic, odorless, and colorless gases are denser than air, creating further insulation against outdoor temperatures and UV rays.

Energy performance ratings

When you are buying new exterior doors, windows, and many other types of products, checking their energy performance ratings is a great way to ensure that you choose the most energy-efficient options available. For example, products with an ENERGY STAR label have been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be more energy-efficient than comparable standard products. When you choose an ENERGY STAR-certified door, you can reliably expect that it will help lower your utility costs, insulate your home, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Another label to look for is one from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). These labels provide information about various factors related to energy performance, such as a door’s solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and U-factor. If you live in a state like Arizona or Nevada where you need to cool your home more often than you need to heat it, look for a lower SHGC in the range between zero and one. In all climates, look for a low U-factor in the range between 0.20 and 1.20.

When choosing new exterior doors for your home, energy efficiency is one of the most important qualities to consider, along with style, durability, and value. In addition, working with a qualified installation team is crucial to maximizing the energy efficiency, functionality, and lifespan of your new doors.

At the Window & Door Store, our team is here to guide you through the process of selecting the best products for your home, from the moment you book your free estimate or set foot in our showroom through the completion of the installation process. We offer a vast selection of exterior doors, including high-performance fiberglass, sliding doors equipped with energy-saving glass, and much more. Contact us today to get started!