Smart Energy Designs specializes in window film installations for residential and commercial spaces in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. We are experts in this field. This section of the Smart Energy Designs website will help you understand some of the frequently asked questions on window film, as well as why we feel we supply and install the most premium quality materials for our clients.
Aren’t all window film products more or less the same?
Window films are not created equally. The generic term of “window tint” does not describe the material from which the film is made, nor does it describe the properties of the film that comprise its ability to filter heat, UV rays and how its overall appearance displays once installed.
What is the purpose of a window tint film?
The purpose is to reduce the heat load of the building and to mitigate the damage of direct sunlight on interior furnishings, finishes and the occupants themselves. Inside the building after a successful window tint film installation, you should feel more comfortable temperature-wise and your eyes should be less sensitive to direct sunlight entering through the windows. An important secondary benefit is that carpet, paint and fabrics will resist fading much better with by mitigating the sun’s damaging visible sunlight and invisible ultra-violet (UV) rays. UV rays are the same kind of light that causes sunburns, even if it’s a cloudy day.
Do darker window films always reject more heat, visible sunlight and ultra-violet (UV) rays?
Definitely not. The darkness of a window film all by itself is not an indication if its ability to reject heat, visible sunlight or filter UV rays. The type of material from which the film is constructed has a much more significant bearing on the effectiveness of the film. Generally speaking, tinted window films are constructed in one of three ways:
- Dyed Film (cheapest, fades easily over time and shortest lifespan)
- Metallic Film (reasonable performance, but may have ‘mirror’ like appearance)
- Ceramic Coated (highest performance, best looking and longest lifespan)
At Smart Energy Designs we exclusively use Hüper Optik multi-layer ceramic window film products. These allow a much more effective filtering of heat, visible sunlight and UV rays, even if they are not particularly dark tint.
How much ultra-violet (UV) rays does ceramic film filter?
UV light is not the same property as visible sunlight. UV light is not visible to the human eye, but can cause interior fabrics and finishes to fade, plus it is known to cause sunburns to your skin in extended exposure. Ceramic multi-layer window tint film like the Hüper Optik brand used by Smart Energy Designs filters up to 99% of the sun’s damaging UV rays. A home or building treated with Smart Energy Designs’ recommended window films automatically becomes safer for the occupants and interior furnishings.
What does a window film’s VLT specification mean?
The Visible Light Transmittance (VLT) specification indicates the ratio of visible (not “ultra violet”) solar energy (sunlight) transmitted through the film into to the interior against the total amount of visible sunlight present on the exterior of the glass panel. This is expressed as a percentage with lower numbers meaning less visible sunlight transmitted, thus lower solar energy in the building. The VLT of Hüper Optik films ranges from 71% (light tint) to 17% (dark tint). Smart Energy Designs has a darkness of window film to meet your VLT expectations for light allowance, but still maintain the ability to filter 99% of UV rays.
What does a window film’s VLR specification mean?
The Visible Light Reflectance (VLR) specification indicates the amount of visible sunlight reflected from the film on the exterior of the glass panel. This is expressed as a percentage with lower numbers meaning less visible sunlight reflected. The VLR of Hüper Optik films ranges from 15% (moderate reflection) to 8% (low reflection). This is because the majority of our window films are not ‘mirror like’ in appearance, even though they are very effective at filtering visible light and UV rays. The takeaway here is that it’s not necessary to be highly reflective to have a great VLT and UV filtering property.
Is there an effective difference in window film performance on single versus double pane glass?
Yes. Generally speaking, double pane glass always has a lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) than single pane glass, which simply means double pane glass windows naturally block heat better. In either case, both types of windows still benefit from window tint film installation. In homes or businesses with single pane glass, the installation of comprehensive, multi-layer ceramic window tint film is far less costly than upgrading to double pane glass and the return on investment (ROI) on the window film would pay back much sooner than the cost of double pane glass. If you already have double pane glass, you’re ahead of the game, energy savings-wise.
How do I understand a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating?
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is simply a coefficient with a range between 0 (complete solar heating transmitted through the glass) and 1 (complete blocking of solar heat through the glass). At Smart Energy Designs our Hüper Optik window tint films have a very efficient SHGC rating ranging between 0.30 and 0.58. As a comparison, even a solid concrete block wall does not have an SHGC of 1 because it still transmits some heat through its material. The amount of Solar Heat Gain (or lack thereof) is directly related to the amount of heat the film helps keep outside the building, thus directly assisting your energy costs with less air conditioning or evaporative cooling requirements.