Window film serves multiple purposes in government facilities (with related video)
GPN learned about the value of window film from Darrell Smith (photo at right), executive director at the Martinsville, Va.-based International Window Film Association (IWFA). The association partners with its manufacturer-members and other members to increase consumer awareness and demand for all types of professionally installed window film products.
GPN: What are the main uses of window film for municipal and other government applications?
Darrell Smith: The primary uses for window film in public buildings is normally to reduce the energy costs of the facility or to mitigate the potential hazards from broken glass in the event of breakage, whether from natural (earthquake, windstorm, etc.) or man-made (explosions or other events which break glass, whether accidental or acts of terrorism).
Other uses would be to reduce glare, which can interfere with productive work (such as viewing computer screens in direct sunlight) or interfere with viewing of items on display to the public. More uses include: to increase comfort by making areas directly in front of windows more usable and balancing out hot/cold spots in a building. Window film can also reduce ultraviolet radiation through windows, which otherwise can rapidly cause damage to furnishings (such as fading and deterioration) or do personal harm to skin and eyes of building occupants.
Window films can reduce solar energy coming through windows by up to 80 percent, thus greatly reducing the air conditioning load on a building and reducing the cooling costs. All quality window films, from almost clear films to darker versions, will block 95 to 99 percent of the ultraviolet energy from entering a building. Both these reductions in solar energy can be achieved with a wide choice of glare control options.
There are many safety and impact standards which various safety and security window film products meet. Testing, including seismic testing, has been done to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of such films to hold glass fragments together after breakage occurs.
Window films have also been tested and proven, some with daylight applications and others with window attachment applications, to be able to be used to meet the GSA/ISC security criteria for bomb-blast performance of glazing systems. Today there are even specialized films that block specific radio frequencies and are used to prevent electronic eavesdropping and digital data theft through windows in buildings.
GPN: What are some ways that government purchasers and specifiers can learn about the different types of window films?
DS: Information about window films can be found at many places. One source for information is the website of the International Window Film Association. Here one can use the “Locate a Business” section and go directly to a manufacturer or distributor’s website and find information and specifications on window film products.
One can also use the “Find a Dealer” section and enter a zip code and find local dealers. Also on the site is general information about window film uses and benefits and links to other places for information.
In this video, the IWFA’s Darrell Smith describes the basics of Window Film.