Many people are looking for ways to improve the efficiency and appeal of their homes and businesses. Window film can be the perfect long-term and cost-effective solution for improvement. (International Window Film Association photo)

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Green Building: Why Waste a Window?

When it comes to renovating a home or business to boost energy efficiency, one of the first places people turn to is the windows. And rightly so! Believe it or not, windows typically account for 15 to 30 percent of the total heating load in a structure and may account for over 50 percent of the summertime cooling load. With the warmer summer months approaching, reducing energy expenses will be top of mind.

What some green builders do not realize when suggesting energy efficient upgrades is that replacing a window is often not the only option -- a cost-effective alternative is the professional installation of window film.

Introduced more than30 years ago, window film today is engineered using advanced technology to deliver energy savings similar to low-e windows, yet at a fraction of what replacement windows cost. Just like new windows and doors, window film is rated by the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council), so homeowners and property managers can be sure of the benefits. For single-family homes, window film installation costs can range from $4 to $11 per square foot, depending on the location and type of window film installed, and the process can be completed in one or two days, without a major disruption in use of the rooms where the windows are located.

Window Film's Perks
Window film comes with perks. Aside from being an affordable option to make a home or business more energy efficient, there are numerous other benefits from a professional installation of window film:

  • Energy cost savings: Cooling bills can be a homeowner's or business owner's enemy come summertime. Professionally installed window film can result in up to a 30 percent reduction in cooling costs. In a commercial building installation, it can deliver about seven times the energy saving benefits per dollar spent when compared with installing new replacement windows.
  • Prolong the life of your windows and be green: Too often, structurally sound windows are discarded because they do not meet today's energy efficiency demands. But window film is a smart choice if you want to enhance windows to contemporary standards. Rather than investing the energy and materials to make and deliver a new window, you can prolong the life of your existing windows by incorporating window film, thereby saving money while being environmentally conscious at the same time.
  • UV ray protection: Untreated windows only block to 25 to 50 percent of dangerous UV rays from passing through. Cumulative exposure to UV rays can result in premature aging, skin damage, and even skin cancer. Professionally installed window film helps fight this by blocking up to 99 percent of UV rays from entering your car, business, or home.
  • Tax credits: An added benefit of this hidden home-improvement solution is that many window films can qualify for "green" credits and energy rebates and are considered carbon-negative products. The tax extender bills passed at the end of 2015 reinstated the 25(c) tax credit for homeowners for certain energy-efficient upgrades to their primary residences. Window film is included as insulation because it is installed on an existing building envelope component (a window) and makes it (the existing window) more energy efficient. The credit for the window film is 10 percent of the cost of the film, to a maximum credit of $500.

Window Film Is Worth It
Many people are looking for ways to improve the efficiency and appeal of their homes and businesses; window film can be the perfect long-term and cost-effective solution for improvement. It reduces energy consumption by reducing solar heat gain. It can reduce the homeowner's carbon footprint. And it can allow you to enjoy natural light without the negative impact of UV exposure.

Whether you are interested in connecting with a local window film installer or becoming an accredited installer yourself, the International Window Film Association provides ample resources on our website,

About the Author

Darrell Smith is the Executive Director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA, With more than 40 years' experience in marketing, sales, and distribution and the last 30 years in the window film industry, he has served as organizational and planning consultant with trade associations, Internet-related businesses, and investment firms. The IWFA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year as an industry body of window film dealers, distributors, and manufacturers that facilitates the growth of the window film industry though the use of education, research, advocacy, and consumer awareness.

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