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The Challenge of Sliding and Swinging Doors

When sliding or swinging doors open they create a hole in the building, exchanging conditioned, comfortable air with the outdoors. They create frigid, unpleasant interior spaces during the winter and they “blow out” very expensive, conditioned air in the summer. In both cases, the HVAC system must cycle more often to compensate for lost conditioned air and must consume more energy to keep up.

Double door vestibules are common, but during peak traffic times remain open and allow large amounts of air to be exchanged. When spaces are small or at a premium, these large vestibules consume valuable floor space that can be devoted to displays, merchandise or seating.

In addition, this large hole created by sliding and swinging doors allows unwanted guests into a building – dust, dirt, fumes, water, and anything else that can get through. Traditional doors can make a lobby downright inhospitable.

sliding and swinging doors allows unwanted guests into a building

So, what is an alternative entrance that solves these challenges? The revolving door has many benefits that make them a premium entry solution.

What are the Benefits of Revolving Doors?

A basic understanding of the way air behaves in a building sheds light on the benefits of revolving doors. Revolving doors (sometimes called rotating doors) operate under the principle of “always closed, yet always open.” This means that they create a constant seal between the interior and exterior of a building. Granted, this seal is not airtight, but the air loss is significantly less than that of a sliding or swinging door.

See what we mean by watching this smoke test video.

Now, let’s dive into the four main advantages of revolving doors over their counterparts.

(1) Slash Energy Costs

A team of graduate students at MIT conducted a study to uncover whether or not a revolving door was really a more efficient alternative to swinging or sliding doors. They conducted an analysis of door use at one building on campus; this building had both a revolving door and a swinging door.

According to their calculations, the swinging door allowed as much as 8 times more air to pass through the building than the revolving door. In addition, they calculated that if everyone were to use the revolving door at this building, MIT would save almost $7,500 in natural gas each year. That’s enough energy to heat five houses over the same time period.

MIT Study Shows Revolving Doors Save EnergyIt’s clear that a revolving door significantly reduces the amount of air exchange in a building. For an organization, this means less conditioned air leaves the building and the HVAC system does not have to work as hard to maintain a consistent interior temperature. The result is a less expensive, more consistent energy bill month over month.

The initial investment of the revolving door is absorbed in just two to five years due to a consistent savings on energy bills. And, after the payback period, the business can actually start putting that energy savings back into their pockets.

(2) Elevate the Experience

Unlike swinging and sliding doors, revolving doors keep the outside elements where they belong – outside. This includes not only dirt and debris, but odors, noises and unconditioned air. When a building lobby allows a guest to escape the outdoor environment, it has truly created an inviting, pleasant experience that encourages visitors to stay a while, and spend a little bit more money.

Heart of America Group engineers, designs, builds and operates hotels and restaurants across the Midwest. The company’s CEO, Mike Whalen experienced the discomfort that resulted from traditional doors.

“I was sitting in our brand new, beautiful lobby that had an automatic sliding door, and every time someone walked into the hotel, cold air rushed in.”

To solve this problem Heart of America has installed both automatic and manual revolving doors at many of its hotel and restaurant locations. Whalen also commented on the premium impression the revolving door provides its guests:

“When our customers see a Boon Edam revolving door on our property, we think they view us as a higher class structure. And from an energy management standpoint, the doors keep the cold air out, especially in the winter.”

Boon Edam Heart of America Hotel Renovo Lobby Door

A revolving door truly elevated the user experience for guests at Heart of America’s business locations.

(3) Repurpose Valuable Space

For building locations utilizing a double door vestibule, revolving doors can help reclaim valuable indoor space. This interior space leaves more room for promotional and merchandise displays or more seats for guests – ultimately resulting in higher revenues.

A national seafood restaurant chain experienced this benefit firsthand. Their original floor plan had a waiting area similar to below. Not only was there a lot of dead space, where guests were “quarantined” in a holding area, but the swinging doors created an area that was cold and drafty in the winter, and hot and miserable in the summer.

Vestibules Take Up Precious Space That Could Be Used for RevenueBy eliminating the vestibule at the entrance and replacing it with a space-saving revolving door, this seafood restaurant was able to create an open, inviting waiting area that encouraged guests to get a drink and appetizer sooner. They also maximized interior space, adding more seats and making more revenue.

Revolving Doors Allow Businesses to Reclaim Valuable Space

(4) Extend a Business' Brand

Revolving doors allow a business to create a unique, premium entry experience for guests. The finish customizations are virtually endless and businesses can incorporate brand colors and logos into the design. Larger revolving door models even have showcases for displaying merchandise, store specials, or holiday decorations.

Revolving Doors Can Be Customized to Fit Into Any Brand

Key Elements of Revolving Door Design

Whitepaper: Ins and Outs of Revolving DoorsWith all the benefits of revolving doors over traditional entrances, how does one go about selecting the right revolving door with the appropriate features and options for their application? We will explore some key elements of revolving door design.

Application and Capacity

The selection of the right revolving door for a building rests upon an understanding of the capacity and character of expected traffic. Simply put, how many and what type of people will be going through the door?

Traffic in a small office building will be very different from that expected at an airport terminal or hospital. And a person’s familiarity with the door has a large impact on whether or not a door will meet its maximum capacity.

Consider Application and Capacity When Selecting a Revolving Door

When considering what type of door is appropriate for the application and traffic, the following questions should be considered:

  • Will rush hours be a concern or will traffic be dispersed throughout the day?
  • Will the doors have to accommodate individuals with luggage or shopping carts? Will hospital gurneys be used?
  • Will the doors need to accommodate families, children, the elderly or disabled?
  • Are the users residents or employees who will come and go through the door on a regular basis?

As a general rule of thumb, manual revolving doors are ideal for small offices, restaurants and high-end retail stores. Automatic revolving doors are better suited at hotels, hospitals, airports and large retail stores.


Revolving doors enhance a building’s façade and are available in a number of finish options so that they either blend in or stand out with their surroundings.

Today, all-glass facades are the most popular building design. An all glass revolving door with minimal stainless steel trim and patch fittings complements the look of a glass façade.

Revolving doors are available in a number of heights and widths with different canopy heights and heights under canopy. And these styles can be finished with metal or painted elements to complement any façade style.

Revolving Doors Can Match the Facade

Connections to the Building

Revolving doors can be connected to virtually any façade in a variety of ways. Connections enable a business to optimize interior space, create a dramatic statement, or even provide additional shelter for people and the door from the outside elements.

When choosing the appropriate revolving door connection, it’s important to consider the effects of having the door mounted on the interior versus the exterior of the building.

A protective overhang is required for any door that is exterior mounted, because if left unprotected, a revolving door is susceptible to the weathering effects of rain and snow, resulting in increased maintenance costs and a shorter lifespan.

Revolving Doors Outside a Building Require a Protective Overhang

The most common types of storefront connections are:

  • Mid-post: half of the door is inside the building, and the other half protrudes beyond the building envelope
  • Throat opening: ideal for saving space, the revolving door resides completely inside or outside the building
  • Standard keyhole: similar to the throat opening connection, this type uses extensions to bring the door away from, or into, the building
  • Angled keyhole: uses 45 degree angled extensions to bring the door away from the building and can be mounted at the interior or exterior

Ways to Connect a Revolving Door to a Building

Branding and Dimensional Elements

Organizations around the globe can customize a revolving doors look to match their unique brand and reinforce their corporate culture. Revolving doors are available in multiple finish colors with various glass and trim options. We’ve even seen unique canopy designs and custom push bars.

Large automatic revolving doors are also available with showcases for displaying merchandise or showing off brand elements.

A revolving door can also include a variety of unique dimensional elements, to include diameters, canopy heights, bottom rails and vertical stiles.

Dimensional Elements on Revolving Doors

Awnings/Overhangs and Flooring

These two features are provided by others, but must be considered ahead of time to ensure the success of your revolving door project.

Building awnings or overhangs are critical to keeping snow and rain from getting inside, and they provide shelter from the weather. A revolving door with any portion outside of the building must have an overhang. To alleviate the need, many facilities choose to implement interior-mounted doors.

Flooring is also an essential component of a revolving door design. The flooring can either blend in with the existing surround, or it can stand out, as a circular footprint using a complementary floor finish, to indicate to the user where to step inside. Flooring can prevent stumbling or falling on rainy days, or it could collect dirt and debris from shoes. The possibilities are endless.

Flooring and Awnings are Critical to Revolving Door Design

Security Features

Because of the current conditions we live in today, many building owners are seeking ways to increase the security of their facilities. Revolving doors with electricity can be equipped for physical security.

Revolving doors can be integrated with an access control system to allow for after-hours entry to only authorized users. Doors can also be locked manually, at the push of a remotely located button or automatically by the access control system at a certain time of the day. Vandal and bullet-resistant glass is also available.

Revolving Doors Can Have Security Features

Critical Door Safety & Code Requirements

An incident occurred a nightclub in 1942 that have influenced the modern code stipulations governing revolving doors today.

Cocoanut Grove was a premier nightclub in Boston. Unfortunately, the building caught on fire and the visitors inside started to panic, attempting to exit through the main entrance – a single revolving door. In the chaos, people were trapped and died.

Today, there are national standards for the comfort and safety of revolving doors. These are found in ANSI 156.27, the American National Standard for Power and Manual Operated Revolving Pedestrian Doors.
This standard stipulates:

  • Maximum RPM allowances for automatic revolving doors and a speed control for manual doors
  • Required safety sensors that, when activated, cause the door to slow down or stop
  • Signage on an automatic door for visual safety measures
  • Collapsible, bookfolding door wings for emergency egress with a designated collapsing force
  • A swing or slide door must be installed next to the revolving door in the same building plane

Additional codes exist for emergency egress, including the International Building Code (IBC) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). These require that a minimum of one door be installed within 10 feet of a revolving door.
Codes are always subject to the interpretation and approval of local enforcement agencies.

Boon Edam’s Manual and Automatic Revolving Doors

Now that you are thoroughly familiar with revolving door benefits and design elements, let’s explore some Boon Edam revolving door models, and what makes each of them unique.

Manual Revolving Doors

Boon Edam Manual Revolving DoorsAs mentioned above, manual revolving doors are ideal for applications with low traffic where a user’s hands are relatively free. Whether or not you choose a door with 3 or 4 wings, manual revolving doors only accommodate 1 user per compartment. So even though a manual door’s diameter may increase, the throughput will not. The user will just have a more spacious compartment.

Boon Edam has three manual revolving door models:

  1. TQM: a metal door that does not require power
  2. Crystal TQ: an all-glass revolving door
  3. BoonAssist TQ: available in both a metal and all-glass version, this model does require power but gives benefits unseen by any other door in the marketplace (see below)

How is BoonAssist TQ Different from Other Manual Doors?

Our BoonAssist revolving door is unique in that there is no other door in the industry that combines these three features for the ultimate user experience:

  1. Power assist: a low energy motor provides automatic rotation after a gentle push, great for children or the elderly
  2. Speed control: a braking mechanism ensures predictable and safe operation at all times
  3. Positioning (or quarterpointing): ensures the door wings stop in a set position every time to maximize ease of use as well as energy savings

This door is available with all-metal or all-glass construction to match any façade.

Automatic Revolving Doors

Automatic revolving doors are suitable for high-traffic applications where users may be in wheelchairs, pushing shopping carts or pulling luggage. Doors are available in 2, 3 or 4 wing configurations. As the diameter increases and the number of door wings decrease, the more users you will be able to fit in a single compartment of the door.

Boon Edam has three automatic revolving door models:

1.    TQA: a smaller automatic door for moderate throughput locations, available with 3 or 4 wings
2.    Tournex: larger than the TQA with the ability to accommodate more users at a time
3.    Duotour: a two-wing revolving door with an integrated set of sliding or swinging doors (largest compartment available)

Boon Edam Automatic Revolving Doors


From retail chains and restaurants, to office buildings and airports, the type of entrance that you select plays an important role in customer comfort, corporate branding and, in some cases, generating more profit. Revolving doors are an energy-saving solution for any application. Before you select the revolving door for your facility, be sure to consider all the elements discussed above.

For more information on revolving doors, please contact us at

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