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Window Film Improves Energy Efficiency in All-Glass Buildings

July 15, 2014 | 0 comments

All-glass buildings and façades can be seen in skylines across almost every major U.S. city. They offer tenants and occupants breathtaking views, and provide a connection with nature that may help improve productivity and satisfaction.

The popularity of all-glass buildings is partially due to the fact that most tenants and occupants enjoy windows with a visual connection to outdoor scenery. Another reason for their prevalence? Many building owners indicate that, the bigger the windows, the easier it is to rent or sell building space.

But when it comes to paying the utility bills, glass buildings may not make as much financial sense as other types of buildings. For this reason, all-glass buildings have been making national news, being touted as energy hogs or energy-intensive facilities. As construction of these facilities increases, so does energy use.

If all-glass buildings don’t have a solution in place to reduce solar heat gain – such as low-e windows or high-performance low-e window film – then very large HVAC systems may be needed to keep tenants and occupants comfortable. Proper measures also need to be taken in all-glass buildings to control glare, reduce tenant and occupant exposure to harmful UV rays, and minimize fading and damage to interior assets. While blinds and shades are one solution, they also eliminate one big reason why glass buildings are so popular: their views.

Building Energy Efficiency for All-Glass Façades
In existing all-glass towers, high-performance, low-e window film can help maintain a connection to the outdoors while also controlling solar heat gain to improve comfort and reduce energy use. Newer low-e window films reduce heat loss in winter and solar heat gain in summer, resulting in year-round cooling and heating energy savings.

A good example is the recent window film installation at the Hyatt Regency Houston. The hotel’s single pane, bronze-tinted windows were the largest source of heat transfer into the building; the surface temperature by guestroom windows reached as high as 125 degrees F. The HVAC system couldn’t keep rooms cool enough, and guests were complaining about discomfort.

After low-e window film installation, a sub-metering system was used to determine temperature readings and HVAC usage in the rooms with window film installed, as well as rooms without window film.

The rooms with low-e window film showed a reduction of 23% in cooling energy use and a 25% reduction in heating energy use. The daytime surface temperatures near the inside of the windows during the summer months were also shown to be 30-40 degrees F cooler in rooms with window film than in rooms without.

With the right energy-saving solution, the performance of all-glass buildings can be improved to reduce utility bills, increase comfort, and maintain views.

Do you manage or work in an all-glass building? How do you deal with temperature fluctuations and discomfort?

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