Many commercial buildings, especially older office buildings, struggle with solar heat gain because of outdated building windows.
Although replacing commercial windows can be prohibitively expensive, there is a much more cost-effective alternative: heat blocking window film.
However, not all window films are created equal, so it’s important to understand how heat control window film works and know what the best window tint for heat reduction is before you commit to buying.
What Is Solar Heat Gain?
Solar heat gain is when heat from the sun causes an object, space, or structure to heat up as it absorbs thermal energy from the sun.
In terms of commercial buildings, solar heat gain refers to how much the sun’s heat causes indoor spaces to warm up, particularly as it passes through windows.
Why does solar heat gain matter in commercial buildings?
While there are many factors that affect the energy efficiency of a commercial building, solar heat gain is one of the biggest ones.
If your building is not sufficiently protected against radiation from the sun, you’ll be overly reliant on running air conditioning to keep indoor spaces cool and maintain comfortable working conditions for employees and building tenants.
Naturally, the more reliant you are on your AC systems, the higher your monthly utility bills are going to be because of excess energy usage.
For large commercial facilities, such as office buildings, solar heat gain can translate to thousands of dollars a month spent on cooling indoor spaces — thousands of dollars that could be saved by upgrading your windows with heat blocking window film.
How do windows affect solar heat gain?
According to the US Department of Energy, heat that enters a building’s windows accounts for as much as 30% of the energy used to cool the building.
In other words, the type of windows your building has could potentially decrease or increase your monthly utility bills by up to 30%.
But what exactly determines how much solar heat gets blocked by a window? In general, the more panes of glass a window has, the more energy efficient it is. So, a double-pane window rejects more heat from the sun than a single-pane window, and a triple-pane window blocks more heat than a double-pane window.
There are other factors related to the specific construction of a building’s windows that can affect their energy efficiency, but how many panes the windows have is the most important factor.
Because of this, many older buildings often undertake large, expensive window replacement projects in order to improve their energy efficiency and decrease their utility bills. But not everyone has the budget for this, not to mention that complete window replacement can be a lengthy and disruptive process.
Fortunately, solar control window films are a much faster and more affordable option for reducing solar heat gain through windows.
How Heat Blocking Window Film Prevents Solar Heat Gain
Sun blocking window film is composed of hundreds of microscopically-thin layers that rejects up to 97% of the sun’s infrared light, which is responsible for the majority of solar heat gain.
Although this type of heat control window film blocks infrared light, this is only the light that you feel (as heat) — it still allows the natural light that you see through windows.
In addition to blocking infrared light, heat blocking window films can also reject up to 99.9% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, which are responsible for causing furnishings to fade or can result in skin damage in humans.
Benefits of solar control window film:
- Rejects up to 97% of infrared light
- Reduces solar heat gain
- Improves energy efficiency
- Reduces reliance on HVAC systems
- Blocks up to 99.9% of damaging UV rays
- Lengthens the life of furnishings
- Allows natural light in
- Doesn’t inhibit views
- Is installed right on top of existing glass
- Much more cost-effective than window replacement
The best window tint for heat reduction in buildings
If you’re in the market for heat reduction window film, the absolute best model on the market is the 3M Sun Control Window Film Prestige Series.
3M Prestige Series window film uses spectrally selective nanotechnology that rejects solar heat and UV rays, while still allowing a high amount of natural light transmission through. Prestige Series window film is so precise and efficient that its performance actually increases with the angle of the sun.
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3M’s industry leading sun control window film is ideal for commercial applications where you want to reduce solar heat gain and improve energy efficiency, without sacrificing natural light and views.
Benefits of 3M Prestige Series Sun Control Window Film:
- Rejects up to 97% of infrared light and up to 60% of solar heat coming through windows
- Improves building tenant/employee comfort
- Provides energy savings
- Can become carbon negative in as few as 6 months from install
- Reduces glare
- Eliminates uncomfortable hotspots
- Maintains outdoor views
- Non-metallized (doesn’t interfere with signals)
- 15-year commercial warranty (if professionally installed)
- Low exterior reflectivity
How Can You Install 3M Prestige Series Sun Control Window Film?
Installing 3M window film is very straightforward, but it should always be done by a professional who is an authorized 3M installer. If window film is not professionally installed, it can actually hurt the performance of your windows.
A professional commercial window film contractor will be able to assess your existing windows to determine if heat blocking window film is viable. They will then install your new solar window film to the highest industry standards to ensure it performs as intended.
Besides ensuring performance of your 3M Sun Control Window film, getting it installed by a certified professional is also a 3M warranty requirement. If you don’t get professional commercial window film installation, the 15-year commercial warranty is negated.
Campbell Window Film is a six-time 3M Window Film Dealer of the Year and a certified 3M partner since 2006. Contact our professional team today for a free consultation about reducing solar heat gain with our commercial window films.