It’s no secret that homeowners are always looking for ways to save money on their energy bills, and one of the best ways to do that is by making a move to install energy-efficient doors.

As an interested homeowner looking for the facts, this guide discusses what you should consider when installing energy-efficient doors, the benefits they provide, and whether this kind of door can bring you the savings you’re looking for.

What Makes Doors Energy-Efficient?

So, energy-efficient doors. How do they work?

Many homeowners believe that all doors are energy-efficient, and to an extent, they’re right. Not all doors offer the same benefits or reduce costs as much as you think.

Some doors are simply better than others.

Let’s start with the basics.

Energy-efficient doors are designed to minimize the amount of heat lost through your home’s internal and external doorways. This is achieved through a combination of factors that include the material of the door, the core material, and any glass options the door has, all of which prevent air from getting in or out of the house as well as reducing the amount of heat that can pass through it.

The more leakage you can reduce, the more energy-efficient the door is, and the more money you’ll save.

The best way to make a door energy-efficient is to make the door using materials with high R and U-values. R-values measure a material’s ability to resist heat flow, while U-values measure the amount of heat lost (or kept out) through a given area. The higher the R-value and U-value, the more energy-efficient the door is.

In addition to using materials with a high R-value, energy-efficient doors can also feature weatherstripping and other seals that help prevent air leaks. These features work together to create a tight seal that keeps your home’s heating and cooling bills down.

The type of glass used in an energy-efficient door also affects how well the door performs. Clear glass, for example, has a higher U-value than tinted glass. As a result, it’s not as effective at keeping the heat in (or out) as tinted glass.

You also have to consider single or double-glazed windows that are part of the door. Double-glazed windows have two panes of glass with a space in between them, while single-glazed windows only have one pane of glass. The extra layer of glass in double-glazed windows helps to insulate the door even further and makes it more energy-efficient.

Moreover, many energy-efficient doors come with a low-emissivity (Low-E) coating. This invisible layer is applied to the glass to reflect heat back into the room rather than letting it escape through the door.

Now that we’ve gone over what goes into making an energy-efficient door, let’s look at how various types of doors rank against one another in terms of energy efficiency.

Comparing the Energy Efficiency of Different Doors

Here are some of the most popular types of doors and their R-values;


Fiberglass doors are typically used on property exteriors and are famed for being the most robust materials in terms of R-values, typically averaging an R-value of between 5-6. This makes them ideal for use in cooler climates where you’re trying to keep the heat in. They’re also great at keeping out drafts and even reducing noise pollution.


Wooden doors are another popular choice for homeowners, particularly those who are looking for a more traditional look. While wood has a reduced R-value of between 2 and 3, it’s still suitable for the vast majority of properties, especially those in average climates.

However, the R-values for wood doors can vary depending on the type of wood used. For example, hardwoods like oak and mahogany will have higher R-values than softwoods like pine.


Metal doors are often used in industrial and commercial settings but are becoming increasingly popular in homes. They’re known for being durable and low-maintenance, as well as being fire-resistant.

Regarding R-values, metal doors tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum due to their conductive properties. However, they can be enhanced with insulation to increase their R-value.

Steel doors, for example, provide the protective benefits while being filled with a foam core for improved insulation, thus giving them an average R-value of between 5 and 6.


Composite doors are constructed from various combinations of materials, including wood, metal, and PVC. These doors offer the best of both worlds in terms of strength and insulation and tend to have some of the highest R-values around, depending on the materials used.

While composite doors are more expensive than other types of doors, they’re worth the investment if you’re looking for an energy-efficient one that will last for years.

Now that you know a bit more about the different types of doors and their R-values, you can decide which type of door is right for your home.

A door with a high R-value is essential if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures. Fiberglass and composite doors are your best bet in this case.

But if you’re looking for a more affordable option, then wood or steel doors could be the way to go. Just be sure to add insulation to metal doors to increase their energy efficiency.

Other Elements That Contribute to a Door’s Energy Efficiency

In addition to the type of door you choose, a few other factors can affect a door’s energy efficiency. These include:

The size of the door: A larger door has more surface area and is more likely to let heat escape. This is due to the size of the door itself, the size of the frame, and how much care needs to be taken during installation to ensure efficiency. A single bedroom door tends to be more efficient than a long line of patio doors, for example.

The number of panels: A door with more panels has more surface area and is more likely to let heat escape. This is because there are more opportunities for weaker points and potential leakage areas that can reduce how energy efficient a door is.

The glass used: A door with glass panels is less energy-efficient than a solid door because the glass conducts heat. The more glass a door has, the less energy-efficient it tends to be unless adequately designed to have a high r-value.

The type of frame: A metal or composite frame is more energy-efficient than a wooden frame because it doesn’t conduct heat as well. It’s all well and good having an energy-efficient door, but if the frame is loose and ill-fitting, then you’re not going to experiment anywhere near the number of benefits you would receive when using a well-fitted one.

June 26, 2022 — Della Wang