Getting the Best of Both Worlds with Energy-Efficient Security Glass: What Are Your Options?

By June 7, 2023 Blog

Most commercial property owners share two common goals: they want to increase the energy efficiency and security of their buildings.

Doing so not only increases the comfort and safety of building occupants and employees, it also helps reduce operating costs and improves net operating income (NOI).

If you’re interested in improving security and energy efficiency for any type of business or commercial facility, one of the best ways to do so is by retrofitting glass doors and windows with some type of energy-efficient security glass or non-glass glazing.

Types of Energy-Efficient Security Glass and Non-Glass Glazing

When it comes to retrofittable energy-efficient security glazing, there are a couple of different paths you can go down for the best results:

  1. Low-emissivity (low-e) window film + Riot Glass® security window film
  2. ArmorPlast® security glazing insulated glass units (IGUs)

Low-e window film + Riot Glass® security window film

One of the most affordable ways to increase energy efficiency and security is by combining these two types of high-performance window films.

Low-emissivity window film is a specific type of energy-efficient window film that blocks solar heat and insulates to cut down on both summer and winter energy use by reducing your reliance on heating and cooling systems.

building with tinted window film

As with all window films, low-e window film gets applied directly to existing glass surfaces, adding a layer of energy-efficiency without requiring you to replace the existing windows or doors.

Adding low-e window film to commercial windows typically results in energy savings of around 30% (commercial buildings often lose about 35% of HVAC energy through windows).

Benefits of low-e window film:

  • Can be applied to many types of existing glass doors and windows
  • Reduces solar heat gain in summer and insulates in winter
  • Often improves energy efficiency of glass by around 30%
  • Relatively fast installation
  • More affordable than replacing existing windows

Low-e window film doesn’t provide additional window security on its own — for that you’ll need to combine it with Riot Glass® security window film.

Riot Glass® security window film uses specific formulations of plastics combined together in many thin layers to create a pliable, yet impact resistant window film that holds broken shards of glass in place.

Although this type of security window film doesn’t prevent windows from getting broken, it reinforces windows and improves safety and security by preventing sharp, jagged pieces of glass from flying dangerously inwards and delaying or deterring forced entry attempts.

If security is your top concern, there are better, more unbreakable options (more on those below), but Riot Glass® security window film provides excellent entry-level glass protection that’s much more durable than other similar security window films out there.

Benefits of Riot Glass® security window film:

  • Can be applied to many existing glass surfaces
  • Very cost-effective entry-level glass protection solution
  • Delays/deters forced entry
  • Reinforces glass against accidental and intentional impacts
  • Holds broken shards of glass in place (reduces risk of injury)

Important note: combining low-e window film and Riot Glass® security window film is not possible for all types of windows. We can help determine if this solution is right for you with a free consultation.

ArmorPlast® security glazing IGUs

If you desire a higher level of security than security window film can provide along with improved energy efficiency, we highly recommend ArmorPlast® security glazing IGUs.

ArmorPlast® security glazing IGUs are the industry’s first security insulating glass units, created by Riot Glass, LLC.

These security IGUs combine virtually unbreakable ArmorPlast® security glazing panels on the attack side (exterior) with your choice of glass on the safe side (interior).

armorplast iguArmorPlast® security glazing shields are composed of unique combinations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics that make them outperform and outlast other types of polycarbonate security glazing on the market.

The space between the interior and exterior glazing provides insulation to improve energy efficiency, as well as comes fitted with a proprietary shock spacer that aids the attack side of the energy-efficient security glass units in dissipating the force of impacts to the edges.

These energy-efficient insulating security glass units can be used with conversion framing that allows you to affordably convert existing single-pane windows to dual-pane windows.

Additionally, ArmorPlast® IGUs are available with a variety of finishes, including low-e coatings for even better energy efficiency and various aesthetic options, such as tinted, frosted, and reflective coatings.

anti glare window film

Benefits of ArmorPlast® security glazing IGUs:

  • Can be used to convert single-pane windows to double-pane windows
  • Air space between interior and exterior provides superior insulation
  • ArmorPlast® security glazing is virtually unbreakable
  • Protects against a full range of security threats:
    • Forced entry and burglary
    • Smash-and-grab theft
    • Vandalism
    • Rioting and looting
    • Active threats
    • Storm damage
    • Blast damage
    • Accidental impacts
  • Many different finishes available

Are there any other types of energy-efficient security glass?

The options we mentioned above are two of the best choices when you want to harden your property’s security and make it more energy efficient all at once.

However, any time you add a pane of glazing to a window, it becomes more energy efficient. Because of this, it’s also possible to improve the energy efficiency of commercial windows by retrofitting a sheet of security glazing on top of the existing window glass.

There are also other types of window films that can improve energy efficiency, such as sun control window films from the 3M Prestige Series. These films are manufactured in sun-control-only, or sun-control PLUS security. The security versions are thicker specifically to help with security and safety and are available at a slightly higher cost than the standard sun-control versions.

Wrapping Up

We hope you now have a better understanding of the different solutions out there when it comes to energy-efficient security glazing.

If you’re on a tight budget, combining Riot Glass® security window film with low-e window film is a decent option that will certainly improve the performance of your windows.

But, if physical security is a priority, there’s really no substitute for virtually unbreakable ArmorPlast® security glazing.

ArmorPlast® IGUs give you the best of both worlds by combining the energy-efficiency of insulated glass units with the incredible impact resistance of ArmorPlast®.

We are authorized dealers and installers of Riot Glass® and ArmorPlast® products, as well as a full range of other window films and glazing solutions. Contact us today for a consultation!