Faced with the second-highest total energy usage in the country (Texas is first), California has become the first state to recognize window film as bona fide energy-efficient building materials.
By adding them to its state building codes, California will require window films to meet certain criteria, similar to windows and roofing. Window films must:
- Carry a certification label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)
- Include the manufacturer’s name
- Have a 10-year warranty
- Be in compliance with the visual quality standards set by the International Window Film Association (IWFA)
The new codes take effect in January 2014.
If you don’t know much about window films, they’re worth checking out. Different types can:
- Reduce glare
- Cut UV exposure (preventing your fabrics from fading)
- Strengthen glass for added security
- Create privacy
They’re relatively inexpensive, running $1.50 to $8 per square foot, and they’re a good DIY project.
And they save energy. Some reduce radiant heat transfer through glass by as much as 50%, making them good choices for colder climes. Others block sunlight — great for west-facing windows and homes in sunny regions, such as the Southwest.
Window films are smart for retrofitting, too. Instead of swapping out older windows for new ones at $700 a pop, you can install a top-of-the-line film (and maybe a little weatherstripping) on your existing windows and get virtually the same benefits for $150.
Plus, you’ll help reduce waste when you keep used building materials (those older windows) out of the landfill.
So which would you rather have? New replacement windows or window films?