Deciding between installing window film or window shades might be a matter of personal preference, but when you compare their value in energy efficiency and protection, you can make an informed decision that will benefit you in the long run.
Solar Heat Gain
Shades can be effective at blocking sunlight and reducing incoming heat when they are light-colored and lowered or closed completely. In states like Florida where it’s sunny a majority of the year, shades may reduce heat gain up to 45%. Some styles though, especially darker shades, can actually absorb and trap solar heat and expel it into a room.
Because window film reflects sunlight before it enters the home, it can block up to 78% of the sun’s heat and absorb the remaining heat that isn’t reflected. This means air conditioning does not need to run as frequently, so energy bills are lowered. Additionally, the insulating properties of window film provides year-round savings by diminishing home heat loss through window glass when outdoor temperatures are colder.
When direct sunlight causes glare on screens or business displays, shades allow you to block or redirect light. This also means rooms are darker and more interior lighting is required to account for the loss of natural light. Ultimately, energy usage and cost is increased.
Window film controls excessive brightness and prevents glare without forsaking natural light. As well, you are able to look out windows and enjoy views and scenery, which has been shown to increase well-being and mood.
Although natural light can offer natural beauty, the sun’s UV rays can be damaging to people and furnishings. Harmful UV radiation that filters in through windows can cause skin damage and cancer as well as increase premature fading on fabrics, furniture and flooring. Depending on their material, window shades may not block UV rays effectively and can actually fade or crack from sun exposure. In contrast, window film blocks up to 99% of UV rays to provide safe, natural light.
Some businesses need to provide a level of privacy for their patrons and many homeowners do not want exposed windows that display their valuables. Window shades will close off onlookers, but the loss of natural light and views can be displeasing. The reflective properties of window film allow you to see outside during the day, but no one can see inside.
Shades may block some shattering glass from projecting into a room, but window film makes windows more durable. If someone or something breaks the glass, the film helps keep the window intact, and broken pieces do not enter a building and cause personal injury.
You can shed some light on the benefits of using window film versus window shades when you compare how each addresses saving energy and protecting self and home. Depending on your goals, you may find window film can give you more bang for your buck.