Commercial window tinting is a trend that has been developing in Los Angeles over the past 10 years as a result of rising energy costs, LEED certification goals, and more recently, stringent California-specific legislation mandating energy reduction measures. Those are reasons enough, but there are a lot of other benefits that are often overlooked by property owners and managers. This blog post highlights several less obvious reasons you may want to consider window tinting in 2019, as well as several short case study highlights.
Howard Hughes Center is a prominent property in Los Angeles, right near LAX Airport. This is Class A office space, and recently the Campbell commercial window tinting team installed 3M Window Film on every window in all of the buildings. There are five buildings on this campus with large expanses of glass.
Now, why would ownership want to invest in applying window film to all of those windows?
Well, for a couple of reasons:
One, it dramatically reduces the heat that comes into the building, and when you reduce the heat load in the building, you reduce the HVAC or the air conditioning cost dramatically. That’s where the energy savings comes from – what we call the kWh savings, or the kilowatt hour savings – and it’s significant with window film. Another reason why they would install window film is for tenant comfort. Tenants feel more comfortable, the building has a better reputation as being a comfortable place to work, less glare, and fewer hot and cold spots (those temperature imbalances where it’s burning up by the windows and freezing over away from the windows). Window film solves those problems right away.
Window film is also instantly implementable, and you get an instant gratification because the kWh drops the second that we complete the building.
Another reason is compliance with Los Angeles and California’s stringent energy laws. EBEWE, Title 24 – these are all legislation that has teeth, and building owners are feeling the pressure now. They have timelines where they have to comply and reduce the energy consumption.
Another reason is that we’re on this mission together as a good stewards of the great city of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has aggressive goals and wants to be the greenest big city in America, and we’re going toe-to-toe with Washington, D.C. We want the trophy on our mantel, not on their mantel. It’s kind of like the World Cup, where we keep passing it back and forth. So, we have aggressive energy reduction goals. We want to reduce the energy demand on the grid, have more LEED certified buildings, and more net-zero buildings.
There’s another thing we do at Campbell that ties in with window film, and that is that we resurface the spandrel. We’ll do the view windows oftentimes on the inside, but a lot of building owners want to change the spandrel color because their building looks dated, and in a very highly competitive real estate market, you need to have a building that looks modern. It needs to look cool. We can do designs, we can do the lettering all across the whole surface of the building, we can change the colors, we can do a staggered pattern. We have designers and architects that will do the schematic layout. We also do digital mockups.
These are all really important things that are very affordable to implement and they can really boost up your occupancy. We have some buildings that have gone from 50% to 100% occupancy just due to energy retrofits and changing the aesthetics of the building. You don’t need to change all of the glass in the building to get energy savings and to change the look of the building.
We also paint the mullions – the metal in between the windows. A lot of times, they get really oxidized and faded and it looks terrible. There are certain methods to do this; you can’t just hire a painter and hire a window film guy, or hire someone to change the spandrel color. This has to be done with a systematic approach.
Another thing that usually gets done in the façade resurfacing is the resealing of the building by applying a new gasket, or the weatherable material around the windows. It gets old, and if we’re going to come in and resurface and change the look of the building, we might as well go ahead and reseal and waterproof it. That way, your whole system is going to last for many years, trouble-free, and you don’t have vendors going back a few years later, messing up some of the good work that was done. It should all be done at once if at all possible, if you can fit it into the budget.
One last thing, and then I am going to go through some of the case studies we’ve done here in Los Angeles. When you’re looking at your ROI, don’t just look at the energy savings. Look at occupancy. Look at retention, tenant comfort, the reputation of your building, and the rent rates you can get. All of these factor into your ROI. It’s not just about the energy savings. There’s a lot of purple money to be had on a project like this. There was an energy study done by the Department of Energy and another one done by CONSOL Energy; window film was in the top four energy measures that were most likely to produce the best result and to be successful.
So, window film isn’t something that’s questionable anymore. If you’ve got old windows, given the current laws and green mindset of prospective tenants, you’re going to have to upgrade your windows.
So, that’s what we do.
A couple of quick case studies of prominent properties here in Los Angeles, completed by Campbell:
Century Plaza Towers
All of the windows in both towers, 300,000 square feet of glass, 8 month payback. Think about the money they are now able to reallocate to improvements around the property instead of going to energy bills.
Howard Hughes Center
They have a 2.5 million annual kWh reduction and are much happier, with more comfortable tenants.
600 & 400 Corporate Point
We fixed all of the bad spandrel, dramatically lowered the energy bills, and improved tenant comfort.
City National Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles
We just completed a big window film project in these buildings. The ROI was less than 1 year!
One of the first LEED certified buildings in Los Angeles. Now, everyone is on the bandwagon, but they were one of the first, real thought leaders in energy efficiency. We installed 3M Prestige 40 Window Film on every window in both towers.
There are many, many more. We’ve done many buildings on Newport Center Drive, 450, 500 and 550, 610, and 660 for Irvine Company, for example. All of these buildings have been retrofitted – old window film removed and new film applied.
Some buildings with dual pane windows are a candidate – it’s not just single pane. We’ll look at everything from the coatings and the thickness of the glass to the orientation of the building. We run the detailed energy analyses, provide test panels, and proof of technology. We’ll dial you in and hopefully help you make your building the new energy-efficient rock star in the neighborhood.
After completing the Howard Hughes Center project, I received a very nice letter from the then-property manager, Jan Church, as seen below.
Jan, thank you so much for this very nice letter, and it was a pleasure to work with you and your team. This was a big project and it took a lot of effort on your part and the part of engineering and everyone involved, so a very heartfelt thank you from all of us here at Campbell.
View a video VLOG post of this blog here.