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Can Window Film Reduce Lighting Energy?

September 17, 2013 | 0 comments

In a commercial building, windows can bring excellent benefits to tenants and occupants … or they can be the cause of discomfort, damage, and high energy bills.

When building owners and facilities professionals don’t have a plan in place to control solar heat gain and glare from windows, they can expect HVAC bills to be higher, artwork and flooring to fade, and complaints to come from tenants and occupants about discomfort. To control these factors, blinds and shades are often used to reduce the transmission of natural light through windows into a building.

While blinds and shades can help control glare and solar heat gain, they may also restrict views to the outdoors, impact the uniform look of the building from the exterior, and cause a need for more artificial lighting since natural light no longer enters the space.

Installing high-performance, low-e window film can offer the best of both worlds. Window film reduces glare and solar heat gain, but also allows daylight to enter the building. Because controlled natural light is coming in through windows (more than with closed blinds or shades), this can also reduce a building’s need for additional artificial lighting. Despite the common misconception that window film installation increases the need for lighting, it can actually do the opposite.

A study recently conducted by the University of Padua in Pauda, Italy, looked at the use of window film in the MG Tower, a modern office building in Padua. Despite the high-rise’s modern, low-e glazing and HVAC systems, occupants still experienced the effects of excess solar heat gain and glare. The installation of window film addressed these problems, and – just as importantly – a University of Padua research team was able to show that there was no measurable increase in interior lighting energy at MG Tower after window film installation. Instead, the study actually indicated a significant increase in useful daylight (and in occupant satisfaction).

If you’re interested in learning more about the research conducted by the University of Padua to validate the energy and environmental benefits of window film, please contact us.
How are you making the most of natural lighting in your building?

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