by Peter Davey
Behind an expanse of storefront glass stands a coveted golf club, artwork, jewelry, fabrics, furniture — all displayed to attract consumers. The downside: That glass is all that stands between these products and potential theft, fading, and business continuity. If that glass remains unprotected, customers, employees, and tenants may suffer the discomfort of solar heat gain in warmer months, heat loss in colder months, and nuisance glare all year long. Retailers may suffer revenue loss as well with increased utilities and HVAC maintenance expenses.
Thousands of national retail storefront and mall windows have been retrofitted with safety and security and solar control films or a combination of both. Mitigating product loss and damage caused by intruders, violent weather, and the harmful effects of the sun undoubtedly improves retailers’ bottom lines.
As smash-and-grab crime rises, product loss prevention against this type of theft has become paramount. Safety and security window films are a frontline of protection against theft. Glass entrances and displays are extremely vulnerable. A strong safety and security window film holds broken glass in place on impact and is far less costly than window replacement. A quick, clean installation over existing glazing creates little disruption of business as usual and remains a low-profile, high-performance measure of security. A premium film will conform to ANSI and CPS glazing standards and will have been subjected to rigorous GSA blast testing or other credible, independent glazing standards and blast testing procedures. Although not impenetrable, a quality safety and security film acts as a deterrent and provides precious extra response time by slowing down intruders. Frustrated by inability to gain quick access, they often move on as alarms sound and authorities respond.
A high percentage of our retail clients request help to prevent fading of products displayed close to windows — including product packaging that rapidly deteriorates from UV exposure and solar heat gain. A quality solar control window film can block up to 99.9% of harmful UV rays without compromising views.
As retail facilities managers face federal and state demands to improve building energy efficiency, a combination of window films can offer both safety and insulating value, or a range of solar control and safety features can be found in one film. A professional installation of a low-e window film in combination with a robust safety and security film will help protect against damages and injuries caused by glass breakage and exposure to the elements while additionally helping to reduce heat gain and loss through windows all year long. Low-e window films featuring wavelength-selective metals block more of the solar spectrum than conventional metals and can block up to 73% of the sun’s heat in warmer months and reduce heat loss by up to 30% in colder months.
Additionally, there are films on the market that are manufactured to reduce both the solar energy entering a building (SHGC) and radiant heat gain. The low-e properties of these dual-technology insulating films provide additional insulation by reducing the transfer of radiant energy from one side of the glass to the other (U value).
Look for a manufacturer’s authorized and certified dealer. Certification will help ensure competency relative to product knowledge, expertise, and experience. Many film manufacturers will not honor warranties unless their films are installed by an authorized dealer with representatives who have been well trained and knowledgeable about window film specifications. Seek out a window film manufacturer that has invested in research and development and has a proven track record in the field. You want both a manufacturer and dealer you can trust — one that stands behind their product and can be relied upon for years to come. Bottom line: An installation of quality safety and security and solar control window film will pay for itself in short order by reducing heat gain and heat loss, improving security, and minimizing the potential of product loss.
Peter J. Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc.