HVAC System's Transparent Friend: Window Film


There are many examples of wasted energy in a retail food stores - inefficient HVAC systems, refrigeration and use of excessive lighting for example. In fact, a recent study by EnergyStar found that supermarkets in the United States use around 50 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 50 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot per year. For a typical 50,000-square-foot store, this is roughly $200,000 annually in energy costs, along with 1,900 tons of CO2 emissions.

Many of the opportunities to save energy and therefore money – such as upgrading lighting, refrigeration and ventilation controls – are well known. However, one source that often goes unrecognized is the energy required to cool space heated by sunlight coming through storefront windows. Just like many of us wouldn’t go to the beach without applying sunscreen, you shouldn’t leave the front interior of your store exposed and vulnerable to the sun’s heat and radiation through glass.

Installing window film on this glass can minimize the amount of heat that comes through your storefront windows, without affecting shoppers’ views of the inside of the store. It also can allow in lots of light while minimizing sun glare, keeping shoppers comfortable.

Some window film can block up to 86 percent of the sun’s heat, helping to reduce air conditioning costs. It also retains interior heat during the winter to lower heating costs due to advances in window film technology. Installing solar control window film increases the amount of solar energy both reflected and absorbed by the window, thus reducing the amount entering into the store, leading to a reduction in rising energy-costs.

Keep these tips in mind when considering which window film would be a good fit for your store:

  • Consider window film that could help your building achieve more credits toward LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. For example, a renovation project that uses window film to reduce the amount of light passing through the window from the interior to the exterior could give your building LEED credits for “light pollution reduction.”
  • Food retailers in colder climates should consider window films with a higher “U Factor.” This refers to the amount of heat that is allowed to pass through the glass. A lower U Factor is best for colder regions where stores would like to retain more heat during the winter.
  • Consider how much privacy, if any, you’d need to provide employees and customers. Some darker tinted window films can be used for businesses that need more security. However, many food retailers may want less tinting to allow customers to see store displays inside.

Energy efficiency is just one of the keys to your store’s long-term profitability. Installing window film could be yet another measure that will position your store for an enhanced customer shopping experience and an improved bottom line.

Beyond energy efficiency, window film has evolved into a versatile, high-performance material that can be used in multiple applications throughout a retail store, including:

  • Reducing fogging: Some window films can be installed in refrigerators, freezer display doors and deli cases to reduce fogging – the films can significantly reduce the times for the fog layer to clear after the door has been opened.
  • Protecting furnishings: Window films can block as much as 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays, keeping furnishings from fading.
  • Mitigating graffiti: Graffiti can be an eyesore for retail storefronts. Some window films can offer a replaceable layer of protection against vandalism.
  • Anti-intrusion: Window films are designed to break, but not shatter, if an intruder tries to smash through a window. This can delay the intruder long enough to deter them.


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