The Cold, Hard Truth About Energy Loss at the Loading Dock

While the unusually cold Spring has made for chilly Easter egg hunts and blustery baseball games, it’s the perfect time to demonstrate the thermal benefits of modular Dock Houses vs. pit-style dock levelers. To assess just how much the style of loading dock can impact a building’s energy efficiency, Team Dockzilla recently ventured out to two Midwestern companies, temperature gauge in hand.

As demonstrated in this video by Dockzilla Chief Engineer Grant Leum, the difference in the abilities between Dock Houses and pit leveler loading docks to keep the heat in, and the cold out, is staggering.

 

Facility 1:  Pit-Style Dock Leveler

Traditional pit levelers are made of thin,1/4″ steel plate, ​and lack insulating value (“R-value”), which causes heat from the inside of a building ​to ​radiate outside the building. Because the only barrier a pit leveler can offer against the cold and wind outside is the dock door and dock plate, this loading dock style is a significant liability for energy loss. Our informal test was conducted in a Minnesota warehouse using pit-style dock levelers.

DOCK LEVELER EFFICIENCY RESULTS:  When the temperature was recorded well inside the warehouse interior, and then again once we reached the dock plate, the internal temperature plummeted 29 degrees!

 

Facility 2:  Dockzilla Dock House (dock leveler, interior/exterior door, vehicle restraint, and dock shelter)

The Dock House, which integrates loading dock components inside a steel structural frame, is installed completely on the exterior of a facility. This modular load house design creates a loading dock vestibule air containment system that delivers significant thermal benefits. Our informal test was conducted in a Michigan manufacturing facility that installed Dock House loading docks when their business expanded.

DOCK HOUSE EFFICIENCY RESULTS:  When the temperature was recorded well inside the warehouse interior, and then again once we reached the dock door, the internal temperature of the facility had only shifted 4 degrees.

 

According to Dockzilla engineers, the thermal benefits of Dock House would be similar in warm weather climates – only in reverse for businesses attempting to keep their facility at a cooler temperature. Either way, the style of loading dock a company chooses can represent thousands of dollars in heating and cooling costs bleeding to the outside.