Air curtains were recently installed at a Pennsylvania car dealership to better control the climate in the dealership’s service and staging area. 

Hermitage, Pennsylvania-based Mel Grata Chevrolet and Toyota put in industrial direct-drive 12 Series air curtains with three-speed motors manufactured by Berner International to seal each of the dealership’s seven new 12-by-12-foot doorways in its 2,000-square-foot, newly remodeled three-bay service area. With a controlled airstream to protect against outdoor air, customers can drive through the air curtains when entering the service center.

“Without the air curtains, it would take several minutes for the heating system to recover our 70-degree set point temperature that keeps customers and employees comfortable from outdoor elements,” said dealership president Mel Grata. “With the air curtains, the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much when doors open.”

Air curtains consist of a metal cabinet that’s mounted above the length of a doorway. Air is drawn through the air intake and accelerated by a fan into a plenum and distributed along the full length of the discharge nozzle. Proper air discharge then creates a jet stream that meets the floor near the threshold, which allows 80 percent of the air to be returned to the building.  

Berner wall and extension brackets allow the air curtains in the service center to be installed far enough away from the wall and past the door track as to not impede the unrolling of doors, but still maintain the proper volume, velocity and uniformity needed for doorway air sealing performance, the HVAC construction equipment manufacturer says. Using its in-house powder-coating, Berner was also able to match the color of the air curtains with Chevrolet and Toyota’s corporate colors.

The Toyota building at the dealership, which includes service, waiting area, offices and other rooms, also features four high-efficiency packaged HVAC construction rooftop units by the Luxaire division of Johnson Controls. Three 100,000-British thermal unit HeatStar tube-style radiant heaters by Enerco are also mounted to the ceiling.  

The Chevrolet building at the dealership also has a similar arrangement of rooftop units and radiant heaters. A temperature controller by Minneapolis-based Honeywell controls all the equipment and maintains temperature through energy-efficient staging programmed by general maintenance contractors. 

“We’ve had no air comfort complaints from customers or employees even on the coldest winter days, and that’s good for business,” Grata said.