CMA Talks Sustainable Design

“Green” Technology: Window Films

Window Film has become a popular resolution to common concerns of Energy Conservation and Sustainable Design professionals. A commonly known and significant benefit of Window Film includes helping to conserve energy by decreasing temperatures inside buildings. Another benefit, not as widely known but possibly among the most important, is its capability to decrease exposure to UV rays.

Daylighting through the use of window film is an effective way to save energy; however, it can be dangerous and costly if not done properly. While Daylighting allows for energy-free lighting, it also allows in excess heat, making it more costly to cool an area, and increases exposure to ultraviolet rays, putting occupants at risk. Solar Control window film, while still contributing to daylighting, can help balance the temperature in the home or office and decrease both heat and UV ray exposure, benefitting our pockets and our health.

What’s New in Window Film?

More recently, a greater range of films has become available that are designed to enhance a window’s performance, but will not dilute the unit’s appearance. These “clear films” are said to increase a window’s insulating capabilities while allowing for greater light transmittance than older type films. This type film has quickly become a go-to for coating historic buildings as it is said to maintain the appearance of the original glazing while increasing protection from UV exposure of the artifacts on display inside.

Films in development include one that mimics a light shelf by redirecting light deeper into a building. Films seem to be an effective alternative to window replacement when the latter is too costly or impracticable for other reasons.

By: Matt Perna, AIA LEED + AP

Charles Matsinger Associates