When School’s Out – The Retrofits Begin
Many public schools close for the summer months, making it an ideal time for repairs and retrofits to the buildings.
For cost savings and return on investment, window films are often the most cost-effective with a payback period that is in many instances less than five years. Full window replacements, on the other hand, may have decades long payback periods for schools, according to a report from the Building Technologies Office of the Department of Energy. It lists full window replacement payback periods for different climate zones at anywhere between 32.4 years (Las Vegas) to 151.8 years (Duluth).
An ideal safety and energy saving retrofit for schools is the installation of window film. On the safety side, window films in general may help to hold glass fragments together when impacted. Think of a stray baseball hitting a window. Ordinarily it may cause significant damage from the glass shards coming into a classroom. There are also window films specifically engineered for safety applications to stall or slowdown an unauthorized intruder’s intent on getting into a school building to possibly cause harm to those inside. Other window films, when subject to gunfire, may hold the glass shards together on the initial impact that otherwise would have caused the glass to fail and leave an opening large enough to gain immediate entrance.
Another safety feature that may be overlooked, is the UV barrier that window film offers by blocking 99% of the sun’s UV rays that pass through unprotected glass and onto the skin, eyes and leading to such ill affects as skin cancers and cataracts. In addition, the UV blocking power of window film may reduce the impact of the sun on fading of floors, furnishings, carpets, and just about anything it comes in contact with.
When used to save energy, (note: window films that are designed for safety may also have energy saving features included as well) window films may reduce solar heat gain by as much as 80 percent.
A reduction in solar heat gain can translate directly into fewer kwh used for cooling. What’s more, most utilities have a separate demand charge based on the highest monthly rate of electricity use for a year, or the peak demand. This charge is in addition to the regular cost of electricity. By reducing the amount of cooling needed during peak periods, demand charges can also be reduced.
Professionally installed window film can improve occupant comfort as it saves energy. Areas near windows are sometimes too warm because of the amount of heat coming in from sunlight. By reducing the solar heat gain, window films can make those perimeter areas more pleasant for people using the spaces.