Automatic doors and energy use at UTM

The automatic door openers from Besam Entrance Solutions (UTM’s automatic door distributor) were designed to open doors by an electric motor for the handicapped. When the button is pushed, the motor powers a small metal arm that pushes the door open for UTM students who are physically disabled.

In the corridor across the hall from the Accessibility Centre in the South Building, 135 students pushed the button to engage the automatic door opener between 2:20 p.m. and 3:20 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9.

The school uses all three types of Besam automatic door openers: the low-voltage “SW100” model, the “Powerswing”, and the “Swingmaster 900”. The Powerswings are typically used on bathroom doors, while the others are in use elsewhere throughout the school.

“I don’t like touching the dirty door handles,” remarks one UTM student.

The amount of time it takes the motor to power the automatic doors is about 10 seconds.

“I press it because I’m lazy,” comments another.

The SW100, which is the lowest-voltage, most conservative door opener, uses 75 watts per door opening, according to Besam’s specification charts. With 135 opens in an hour, that ends up using about 10,125 watts. If you multiply that number by a typical nine-hour busy school day, you end up using around 91,125 watts for the entire day.

The medium-powered Powerswing model uses 222 watts per open. 135 opens will use up around 29,970 watts, which is about 269,730 used watts for the entire school day.

The highest-powered Swingmaster 900 model uses 1,200 watts per open, which ends up using approximately 162,000 for 135 opens. A typical school day will use around 1,458,000 watts.

There are 117 active school days within the UTM school year, so the calculations for the amount of power used during the entire year are as follows (approximate):

SW100: 10,661,625 watts

Powerswing: 31,558,410 watts

Swingmaster 900: 170,586,000 watts

To put it into familiar terms, the amount of energy used per year for the SW100 model is equal to powering a typical 40-watt household incandescent lightbulb for around 11,106 days straight. The Powerswing model’s wattage could power the same lightbulb for about 32,873 days straight, and the Swingmaster 900 could power one for approximately 177,694 days straight.

Note that 135 students is only an average and it was during a peak time of the day when density was at its highest. But it was also only one door of several hundred throughout the UTM campus. Campus Maintenance didn’t comment on how many doors have these push buttons, but one can make an educated guess through their daily travels around campus.

The Accessibility Centre wouldn’t disclose information on how many physically handicapped students and workers there are on campus.

Out of the 135 students that day, only two of them were physically disabled.

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