The Energy Efficiency Upgrade Cycle
Optimize Your Building

There are so many energy saving technologies available to help you save money. It is important not only to choose the right products, but also to apply them in the best way so that you can maximize your ROI.

Facility Manager, Architects, and many building owners are looking to create a more efficient building envelope. Creating this efficient building envelope is an essential step in optimizing your entire building for energy efficiency all around. Upgrading

Upgrading your current windows with commercial window films can reduce high energy costs, while both improving interior comfort and maintaining your building’s overall appearance. Often upgrades such as window films are overlooked and owners jump right to optimizing their HVAC system. Studies have shown that if you create a more efficient building envelope before HVAC improvements, you can downsize your HVAC equipment in the future, enabling you to reach the maximum possible performance for your profits.

How Do Window Films Work?

The sun’s solar energy transmits through a window by infrared waves. This radiant energy is converted into heat when it comes in contact with people or objects. If you block the the energy from coming into the space then you stop it from turning into heat and causing discomfort in the office. Window tinting interrupt the transfer of the solar energy by reflecting it back away from the building all together.

Since the invention of window film back in the 1960‘s, millions of square feet of window films have been installed all around the world. Helping protect people and property, reduce energy costs and improve interior comfort. As the demand for reducing energy by using window films grew, so did the demand for variations of the window film colors. Colorations of window films were achieved through a variety of ways. These new colors complemented architectural design and resembled the bronze, gray, gold, amber, etc colors glass. Today window films are used toward LEED credits or Energy Star labeled buildings.

The US DOE Does A Study

In 2011, the US DOE completed a study on the top 50 commercially available energy conservation technologies. The technologies were ranked on three categories:

• Payback

• Probability of success

• Overall energy savings

The technologies were then sorted into two categories:

• First tier technologies—for deployment

• Second tier technologies—technologies with less benefit and may be considered for specific targeted applications

Results for Window Films

• Ranked as top tier technology

• Fastest payback ranking available—approximately 3 years

• Highest probability of success

Replacement windows were also studied, yet they received much slower payback

ratings and lower probability of success due to the significant initial investment costs

and disruption to tenants required for a new window replacement.

CONSOL Energy and Environmental Solutions is a leading consulting firm for builders, government agencies, utilities and trade associations. CONSOL utilized the US DOE recommended software platform, Energy Plus, to calculate the effects of adding window film to a commercial building. The commercial building model used was the DOE recommended Energy Plus Commercial Building Benchmark Model.

This study further justified the DOE study with the following results:

• Single pane glass showed paybacks in as short as 1.4 years

• Double pane glass showed paybacks in as short as 2.1 years

The film had annual energy savings as much as 19 kWh/sq. ft. of installed film when installing on all four orientations (this number would increase if you did not include the north orientation!). If every existing home in the state of California installed window film, carbon emissions would be reduced by as much as 8.8%.


Since this study, there have been many other case studies in which facility managers had window films installed and found a payback within a few years and annual energy savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Right here in Nashville, TN the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower had a high performance window film installed to help with tenant comfort and reduce the overall energy consumption of the building. The State of TN went on to estimate their annual savings to be over $200,000.

What Else Can Window Films Do?

Much like the solar window films help keep the harmful radiation and UV rays out of the building, safety and security window films help keep unauthorized entries of people, objects and natures fury out too.

With so many incidences of smash and grab burglaries, damaging storms, and vandalisms, there are some companies that need more security than what regular glass can offer. The safety and security window film products are a great solution for this. These safety and security window films are used where there is a potential for injury from broken glass.

In the event of a forced entry, the safety and security window films are applied in such a way that the adhesive bond increases the amount of force required to get through the window or door. These films can be applied in food processing facilities where glass needs to be contained should it fracture and not fall into the food/s processing facilities. The films are adhesive coated to bond them to the glass. The better safety films are those that are smooth-coated, because they have far superior optical clarity. Safety and security films can have components added, such as for solar control and decorative effects. However, as mentioned before, it is their physical properties that allow them to be used in various applications, such as:

Personal safety

When annealed glass is broken (normal window glass), it breaks into sharp shards that are dangerous to anyone in the area. This is particularly hazardous if the window is broken by human impact. Toughened (tempered) glass can produce showers of small glass pellets that can cause serious injury; especially in the event of a tornado, hurricane or damaging storm. The building codes of some countries specify requirements for personal safety in architectural glass and glazing. Certain films with correct certification can be used to upgrade existing glass and glazing to meet the safety standards specified in the building codes ANZI Z97.1.

Protection During Earthquakes And Other Damaging Weather

In many parts of the world such as California, earthquake activity is an ever-present fact of life. Due to ground motion during seismic activity it causes buildings to move, which in turn causes glass breakage and glass fall-out. This can endanger people below and again exposing a buildings contents to weather damage or even theft. Safety and security window films have proven their worth in protecting people and property during these types of activities, by helping retain the glass in its frame.

Increased Protection From Bomb Blasts

Explosions cause widespread damage, and in an urban environment, the risk of injury is increased. If an explosion takes place in an urban area, flying glass is often the biggest cause of injury or trauma. However, if safety and security window films are applied correctly, they can contain these shards of glass, protecting the internal environment, and the people inside. People sourcing films for this purpose should choose a product from a manufacturer that can produce results for General Services Administration (GSA) blast ratings, and check with the manufacturer that the installer has sufficient experience and knowledge to offer such products.

Decorative Window Films for Interior Spaces

Like I said window film is primarily known for its use in heat and UV reduction, but it actually can be used for a variety of interesting functions, from security to decoration.

For example, do you know the etched glass in conference rooms, or the doors of office buildings? Well, it could be decorative window film. If it is, then the company saved a lot of money by using it versus the real thing and ended up with an equally eye catching design.

Adding a touch of style or design to the windows or interior glass within a space does not have to be cost very much. Decorative window films can create in many cases a better appearance than etched glass at a fraction of the cost too.

Many interior designers are using decorative window films on doors, conference rooms, office partitions, offices and hallways. The Decorative window films, if applied correctly, can give the space a sense of class and sophistication.

There are plenty of opportunities for decorative window films in a commercial office building if you are looking at upgrading the appearances. Not only does the decorative window films offer a design element, they create privacy while still allowing the natural sunlight into the area.

The design possibilities are quit endless too. From fabric, frost and matte patterns to custom cut designs, you can be sure to get the perfect look to inspire creativity and productivity from your employees.

A particularly significant advantage of decorative films is the flexibility it allows you. Styles tend to change over time, and with these films instead of etched glass, you can change the patterns and designs anytime you want. So you won’t be stuck with the same etched or custom glass pattern for years and years or have to pay a fortune to get it replaced.

Some architects have even incorporated it into their design to help prevent glare and UV light from entering into the the building. It is the small aesthetic touches that give the space its unique style. Affordable and attractive, decorative film is a flexible option for anywhere there is glass.

Another huge advantage of the etched, cut, sandblasted, textured or other decorative films, it always you to customize the design and the privacy for each space individually. If you would like to have your company logo on the conference room glass which is on the 4th floor but have another tenant on the 5th floor, they too can have a completely different logo design. If that tenant ever moves, just remove the decorative etched logo and have clear glass once again.

The dusted or frosted designs of decorative films provide the look of sandblasted or etched glass at a fraction of the cost to have new glass installed. While some of these films can be cut, others can be digitally printing, giving you a whole new world of creative designs. Decorative window films are perfectly suited for interior glass as well as exterior glass.

The take away

While there are many many different types, colors, and performances of window films now, it is crucial that you consult with a professional commercial window film installer for the best products for your situation. Their expertise with the products, glass restrictions and warranties, they can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, if you were to choose the wrong product.

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