This is a terrific recent article that ran in The Denver Post about the use of window films to save money on energy costs for your home.
Abundantly clear: Window films can Save Money Invisibly
By Marni Jameson in The Denver Post
It could be the best home improvement you never see. Or not. It’s hard to know.
Window film — a transparent barrier that, its makers say, keeps bad sunrays from eating up your furniture and driving up your air-conditioning bills — is at its best unseen.
And that’s the problem. How do you know it’s there? Because it’s invisible, I’m tempted to put it in the same category as the Emperor’s New Clothes, or the buying and selling of galactic stars. I worry that homeowners are buying into some big transparent lie.
It’s like sunscreen for windows, those with more faith tell me. But I want more proof. Plus, I have other concerns about sunscreen for windows.
I like natural light in a house. “The space has great light,” real estate agents will say, pointing out a plus in a home. Why kill it?
I like sunshine. I grew up on the West Coast, where, before I knew better, getting a great tan was like a second career. When I did know better, I avoided the sun like a bat and slathered on sunscreen. Now I have Vitamin D deficiency from not enough sun. Someone, somewhere, is wrong.
I like conspicuous consumption. I’d rather buy a new area rug or table than some not-obvious, no-fun home improvement, like, say, insulation.
Plus, I’ve seen bad window jobs. And just like nose jobs, you notice only the bad ones.
As it happens, there is a man whose job is to turn unenlightened cretins like me around on this subject.
Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association, a group of manufacturers, distributors and installers, welcomes my skepticism.
“We’re trying to provide accurate information to those who have misinformation that is over 20 years old,” he said.
7 Crystal-Clear Window Film Tips
Here are more points homeowners should know about getting great protection, even if they never see it:
1. Color-neutral options. “If you don’t want to change the color of your home’s natural light or see any metallic shine, ask for a color-neutral day-lighting film,” said the window-film association’s Darell Smith. Your windows will save energy, but give up next to nothing in light quality.
2. Lower bills. In hot weather, solar-control films can block up to 80 percent of the solar energy coming through windows, which cuts down on air conditioning. “It usually translates into a year-round savings of about 5 to 10 percent of the home’s total energy bill,” said Smith, and much more during hot months.
3. Damage shield. Visible light lies on the spectrum between ultraviolet, which damages furniture, and infrared, which beams heat. Treated windows will block 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays, thus greatly slowing the deterioration and fading of drapes, carpet and furniture.
4. Decorative looks. Today’s window films can also inexpensively make clear glass look etched or frosted for privacy or a decorative effect.
5. It’s not a fix. If your window is in bad shape, leaking or poorly insulated, adding film won’t fix that. Deteriorating windows should be replaced. However, if your windows are in good shape, don’t replace them just for energy efficiency, said Smith. Try film first.
6. Get a warranty on the work. And read it before you sign a contract. You should be protected against bad installations. Signs of a bad job include film that peels or lifts at the edges, or little bubbles growing under the film. Speaking of warranties, many window manufacturers will invalidate their warranty if you do anything to their windows, including adding window film. If your windows are still under warranty, find out how adding film will affect that protection. Get it in writing.
7. Get money back. If you had window film installed in 2012 or 2013, you could get a federal energy tax credit of up to 10 percent of the cost of installation, up to $500. Ask your utility company if they offer a credit toward your energy bill if you treat your windows.
You can read this article in it’s entirety by clicking HERE