According to the Energy Information Administration, the windows and doors in the average residence are responsible for up to one third of its total heating and cooling losses. In commercial buildings, the numbers are even worse. Up to 40 percent of your heating and cooling energy escapes through the windows in a commercial facility. This increased loss is often due to the abundance of windows installed in businesses including storefronts, restaurants and offices.
If possible, replacing all of your windows with energy-efficient insulated windows will certainly help reduce your overall HVAC expenses due to heating and cooling loss. However, if your home- or building-improvement budget is stretched thin, there’s a more cost-effective solution to curb your structure’s window-related energy losses.
Consider having low-emissivity (low-e) window film installed on the windows of your house, condo or commercial facility. Insulated window film will increase your interior comfort while lowering your overall energy costs. Read on to learn more about the installation and performance of low-e window films.
What Are Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Window Films?
Low-e window films are thin sheets of clear material coated with a virtually invisible layer of metal. The special coating repels ultraviolet (UV) light and reduces the transfer of heat into buildings. According to the 3M company (manufacturers of several types of low-e window films), the coatings can make a single-pane window nearly as insulated as a double-paned window. If you have a double-paned window coated in the low-e film, it will hold in warm or cool air nearly as well as a triple-pane window.
Low-e window coatings cost a fraction of the price of new windows, and they provide a great deal of value for the investment. However, the low-e films should ideally be professionally installed to experience the best results from the product. Low-e window films must make direct contact with the window glass in each pane in order to work properly. The low-e film application takes a bit more experience and precision to install than the cheaper heat-shrink window films.
Low-e window films are available in varieties with extra installation, slight tinting and climate-control features that increase the comfort of homes and businesses while still allowing for views and ample sunlight in indoor spaces. Low-e film products are designed to work even when the sun is at its harshest angles. The various film products are tested when the sun’s rays are perpendicular to the windows being monitored.
How Effective Is Low-E Window Glass Film?
The insulation ability of low-e window film helps increase the retention of warm air in the colder winter months. Depending on the specific product used on your windows, you’ll feel up to 38 percent warmer on the coldest days. You can open the curtains wide all winter long without feeling drafts from chilly windows. It’s not necessary to use insulated drapery or block the natural daylight on a frigid winter day when you have insulated your windows with the low-e film.
The low-e coating also effectively sends hot sunlight packing on steamy summer days. Depending on the film used, you can expect to reduce heat from direct sunlight by up to 78 percent during the hottest months. The low-e film also blocks up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays.
Architects and builders appreciate the many benefits of low-e window glass film. Historic buildings with notoriously poor insulation have been retrofitted with the new window technology. One example is the Minnesota Governor’s Residence in St. Paul, which is over 100 years old. Because the low-e film reduces utility bills by up to 10 percent while not changing the appearance of beloved structures, it’s a win-win for historians and accountants.
What Are Some Additional Benefits of Low-E Window Film?
One of the greatest benefits of using a low-e window film is the way the interior decor of your home or building is not changed in any significant way by the technology. The window film is barely noticeable and actually protects the interior look of your rooms or commercial spaces. Because the low-e film blocks UV light, your upholstery, carpeting, artwork and other furnishings will not be subject to potential fading or discoloration.
Some window coverings are bulky or significantly change the appearance of your home or commercial facade. Awnings, shades and other sun-blocking additions can alter the style and ambiance of your building. They can block a desirable view as well as they block the sunshine. Awnings and other window solutions can also be hard to operate, clean and maintain.
Low-e window glass coverings, on the other hand, are virtually maintenance-free once they’re installed. The window films work seamlessly with your decor and architecture today and in the future when your home or building undergoes decorating upgrades.
Contact the glass experts at Ken Caryl Glass, Inc. today to learn more about the many design and economic advantages of installing 3M™ window-film products. We’re authorized dealers and installers of Prestige™, Night Vision™, 3M Fasara Interior Design™ and All-Season™ 3M window films.
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