by Peter J. Davey
Buildings that are relatively unprotected and thus vulnerable to attack are considered soft targets and are vulnerable to terrorist groups and lone-wolf attackers. An unfortunate reality, devastating current events have advanced the discussion of hardening soft targets, and consequently have prioritized the improvement of building safety and security infrastructure.
Glass entrance doors and windows are the Achilles’ heels of all buildings. Left unprotected, they can potentially shatter and disperse dangerous shards that can cause injuries and damage. Additionally, an intruder can gain access through an unprotected window or glass entryway. Balancing priorities with budgetary concerns is a challenge; however, the cost of ignoring weak links in infrastructure can be catastrophic. Window film retrofits provide an economical solution compared to window replacement.
Safety and security window films
3M Company has recommended the following safety window film products to help increase window and door security for schools — a recommendation that has resulted in the installation of 3M Safety & Security Films on hundreds of schools throughout the country:
- Ultra Series S600 for strong, tear-resistance protection.
- Safety Series S140, which holds broken glass together so windows won’t shatter.
- Impact Protection Attachment Systems, which bond the filmed window to the frame, offering the highest level of protection when combined with safety film.
We have seen a considerable rise in requests for safety and security film specifications — particularly from soft targets such as schools, hospitals, hotels, and shopping malls in recent years. American Window Film, Inc. professionals have installed 3M Company’s window film safety recommendations on many types of commercial buildings throughout the Northeast.
Dual-technology climate control window films
Nearly 40% of all heating loss in commercial buildings is due to windows. Particularly beneficial for commercial properties in the Northeast, dual-technology climate control window films are in demand. These highly engineered films utilize both traditional solar heat control as well as radiant heat control technologies in one film — a significant breakthrough for our Northeast climate zone characterized by dramatic seasonal temperature shifts. Like traditional solar control window films, dual-technology films reduce solar heat gain in warmer months and heat loss in colder months. However, they take them a step further by additionally reflecting radiant heat back into a room during colder months. These films effectively upgrade windows to low-E status — improving energy efficiency and year-round comfort at a fraction of the cost of glass replacement. With no protection, a single pane window loses 20 times as much heat as the same area in an adjacent well-insulated wall. Installed by professionals, a quality dual-technology climate control window film can boost the insulation performance of an existing single-pane window to nearly double-pane and a double-pane to nearly triple.
Advances in traditional technologies, as well as the introduction of new technologies, have resulted in more effective and efficient window films to help improve safety, security, and energy efficiency within our buildings. A quick, clean, professional window film retrofit will pay for itself in short order while answering the safety and conservation demands of consumers as well as those of local, state, and federal agencies.
Peter J. Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc. of Foxboro, Mass.