What Window Film Can Do For Energy Efficiency

September 22, 2020

Make Your Windows Energy Efficient

 

Hi everyone! I'm Chad Shields, project manager with Solar Art Window Film. I have been in this role for a little over four years now. Solar Art installs window film around the country in all locations and we work with a variety of different people like general contractors, glaziers, glass companies, property managers, facility managers, and more!

With that being said, we frequently get requests for solutions to make spaces more energy efficient and for ways to lower electricity. The goal of today is to talk a little bit about what window film can do for energy efficiency in commercial and residential settings! So keep on reading to learn what I have to say on the topic of what window film can do for energy efficiency as well as some general window film frequently asked questions!

What does window film do?

Let’s start with what window film does and the role it plays in energy efficiency. Solar film is installed directly onto glass surfaces and either reflects or absorbs the energy coming through the glass. It ultimately reduces heat entering the space from the outside. There are different types of window films, which give you different performances on the glass. Along with the different types, different shades have different performance levels as well. 

What types of solar film are there for windows?

So, what types of window films are available? We classify solar film into three categories:

  • Metalized 
  • Ceramic 
  • Spectrally Selective

Within those three categories, there are a variety of different films you can choose from, but these categories set our expectations on what you are looking for and what comes next.

Metalized window film

Metalized window film relies on metals in the film to reflect energy and light coming from the sun to reduce the heat coming through the glass. These films are silver or bronze in appearance and have a high-performance value for a low cost. 

Ceramic window film

Ceramic window films have a much higher clarity level then metalized window films. They use ceramic technology that absorbs heat rather than reflecting it, which means you have lower interior and exterior reflection while still maintaining a high level of performance.

Spectrally selective films are the highest performing of the three categories and they use a mix of technologies, whether it be metal, ceramics, or polymers to absorb and reflect heat. They only let certain wavelengths of light through, so you get a brighter room with more heat rejection, and none of the reflection. 

What does a window film installation look like?

All three of these categories, or all types of films for that matter, go through the same installation process. Window film installations can be done during normal business hours, after hours, at night, or on weekends. Window film installation can be adjusted to your needs, which is a great benefit.

We do like to let customers know that the window film installation process isn’t intrusive, but it does sound like crumpling paper and our installation team is moving around with spray bottles. For those reasons it is easier to do larger projects during off-hours where we don't have to work around tenants, disrupt the workflow of the day, or close down any areas for long periods. 

Another benefit of window film is the quick installation time and flexibility it offers. If we were replacing glass versus adding window film, you might not be able to work in the area for a week, whereas with window film, it’s only a few hours. Also with window film installation, you don't have to do the entire installation at one time. You can do portions of it now and you can do the next portion of it later. 

For example, if you are having tenant complaints about heat and glare coming from the south side, you could install window film on the south side this week. Then next week, next month, next year, or whenever the east and west side start having heat and glare issues, you could then install window film to those sides. What’s great is that you still get those heat and glare reduction benefits even if you are only installing the window film on one side of the building.  

Window film performance

As soon as your window film is installed, tenants and employees will feel the benefits immediately. Once the window film is on the glass, it will start rejecting heat and energy coming through the window, reducing the glare and heat. You will no longer have the radiant heat coming through the glass or the direct heat from the sun beating on people throughout the day. The glare and reflection off of other glass and cars from outside will also be reduced, which increases comfort because you won't have annoying glare in your eyes, which increases overall comfort and productivity. 

How window film helps with energy efficiency

We just talked about how solar film helps reduce heat and reduce glare, which ultimately makes tenants and other occupants more comfortable. But with window film, building management will also see benefits a little further down the road in AC usage and energy costs. Energy costs should be reduced within the first month of the window film installation. Over a few months, you should see a significant AC load reduction. 

We frequently get asked if it makes more sense to replace existing glass with more efficient glass. That is an option, but it can be a significantly more expensive option than simply adding window film. In fact, installing window film is roughly ¼ the cost of replacing the glass. Even when window film may only have a 15-year warranty, your return on investment is going to be significantly higher just using window film than replacing the glass panel wall. 

How much money will window film save you & how long does it last?

These are very frequently asked question here at Solar art, and though we wish we could give you a firm answer, how much you'll save with window film depends on a few factors:

  • Your existing building
  • Your existing glass 
  • How efficient your existing glass is
  • What type of film you select

The longevity of window film depends on how close to the ocean it's installed and what type of film you use! 

What is the warranty on window film?

In a general commercial setting, there is a 10-15-year warranty for interior window films and 5-8 year warranty for exterior window films. 

Are there any window film rebates?

Yes, there are rebates for window film installations, though the rebates are unique to each energy provider. For example, Southern California Edison doesn’t offer a rebate, whereas LADWP or San Diego Gas and Electric have had rebates available in the past. It’s important to note that those rebates might also be different values. To put it simply, each jurisdiction and each utility company is going to have its own rebate and needs to be researched independently. 

Solar Art Can Make Your Windows Energy Efficient

There you have it! How window film helps with energy efficiency. If you're interested in any of these topics on energy efficiency or what window film can do for your building, please reach out to us today for a free consultation! 

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