Four ways fabric curtain walls can improve energy efficiency

Fabric curtain walls have many benefits for building including increased energy efficiency, controlling dust and debris, and HVAC cooling

10/07/2013


Fabric curtain walls have many benefits for building including increased energy efficiency, controlling dust and debris, and HVAC cooling. Courtesy: ZoneworksFabric curtain walls have many uses to separate environments within and around the perimeter of industrial buildings, while also offering a simple, quick, inexpensive means of improving energy efficiency.

Many buildings, especially older ones, have open dock areas that are inside or outside the footprint of the building envelope. Not everyone uses the modern dock design of individual dock positions with individual dock doors, etc. These “open” areas introduce cold air or hot air into the building, causing the temperature within to rise or drop. This can be tough on the climate control systems in use, if any.

By enclosing these open dock areas with fabric curtain walls, companies have an easier time keeping the thermostat at a consistent temperature to reduce energy spending. As the seasons change, these types of walls can be designed to open up when weather is more agreeable for full weather and energy control. Additionally, keeping the facility at the proper temperatures usually makes for happier, more productive employees.

Along the same lines, we see many customers introduce HVAC cooling into large areas of their buildings and in some cases, condition the whole footprint. The reasons for this vary from employee comfort and safety, raw material or ingredient requirements, or for specific processes in production areas. With fabric curtain walls, you can effectively set up HVAC temperature zones so that a specific space is receiving the treated air and energy dollars aren’t floating throughout the entire building. By compartmentalizing the square footage, you can be more strategic with HVAC expenditures on an annual basis.

Another area where fabric curtain walls improve energy efficiency is at large grade level door openings or rail dock openings. Many of these larger door openings are too big for fast-acting, high-speed doors and the cost for giant telescoping doors (think airplane hangar size) isn’t in the budget. Keeping traditional doors at these locations is a maintenance headache and a nightmare for the maintenance budget. By utilizing a sliding fabric curtain wall, simple in design, the opening can be blocked off to keep wind and elements from entering the building and lowering or raising the temperature. Controlling air infiltration (wind) is the larger part of the battle in controlling temperature. These simple curtains seal off the openings nicely and the original existing door unit can be kept for security or as an off-hours door as needed.

Lastly, controlling dust and debris, which can migrate into and through a building, shouldn’t be overlooked. This type of contaminant in a building can wreak havoc on HVAC or refrigeration equipment or process equipment that is overly sensitive to foreign matter. By controlling the migration and/or collection points of dust within your building, you allow your HVAC and process equipment to work at a higher efficiency. This saves energy dollars and could prolong the life of the units.

When it comes to saving energy, everyone’s been told to turn off the lights if they’re closing up the shop or to turn off the computer you’re done using for the day. While every little bit helps, for real cost and energy savings, there’s a big opportunity for your plant with fabric curtain walls.

Kyle Justice is vice president of sales for Zoneworks.



The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me