The power of film

Installing a layer of film on your windows can help cut your energy costs and might even decrease employee complaints about working conditions.

“The benefits of window films are various for different customers,” says John Hansen, president and owner of Cleveland-based Suntrol, which has been installing window films for 26 years. “You can save up to 30 percent on your energy bills, and it reduces the ultraviolet light, which will reduce fading of your carpeting, drapes and merchandise in your storefront, if you’re a retail store.”

There are also security films available, which hold the glass together and can be used to prevent “smash-and-grab” tactics by thieves in places like jewelry stores.

“There are also designer films,” says Hansen. “You can use them to opaque-out a conference room or interoffice walls. They are custom tailored for privacy.”

Films also are available in patterns that can be used as decoration or even signage. They also aren’t what most people think.

“Most people think of film as dark and reflective, and nobody likes that,” says Hansen. “The films come in anything from clear up to real dark.”

So a retailer with a large glass storefront could have a clear film applied and gain all the cost-saving benefits without blocking the view of the merchandise from the outside.

Employees can also benefit, especially those who have offices with windows. Films can reduce up to 78 percent of the solar heat coming in, and can reduce the heat lost from inside during the winter months by up to 30 percent, resulting in a more comfortable office temperature. Because there aren’t many sunny winter days in northern Ohio, losing the solar heat during the winter isn’t a major problem.

Film costs range from $4-$15 per square foot installed, and most are applied to the interior side of the window.

“A lot of business owners don’t look at the benefits film will give them,” says Hansen. “If you suffer one break in, you’ve lost more than the price of the film. If your merchandise fades, you’ve wasted more money. If your employees aren’t working because they are too hot or cold, you’re losing money.”