Department of the Treasury

Window Films

We all know that in many instances the costs of heating and cooling a building/home is the biggest component of our utility expenses. (Per the California Energy Commission, 30% of a structure’s cooling requirements are due to solar energy entering through glass)

Now consider that many gov't offices are located in buildings/structures that were built years ago under previous building code/standards.

When exposed to sunlight, windows in such buildings

allow not only visible light but also solar heat energy radiation (both IR and UV) to enter through.

While a nice view and natural light are desirable (and often prefered) , glare can cause discomfort for workers, and the cancer-causing UV rays increase wear on flooring, furniture, and artwork. The IR energy allowed through is what creates a heat buildup on the area inside of the window.

Cooling this space will put more stress on the HVAC system to work harder, which is already relatively expensive to run.

The good news?

98% of the UV radiation, and upwards of up to 85-90% of the IR energy can be blocked out while letting all/nearly all of the light in for cheap.

While there's no need to outright replace all existing windows (which would be wasteful as well as too costly when looking at it from a cost-benefit perspective), the simple application/installation of newer energy saving window films to the windows currently in place should significantly reduce costs for HVAC. Many people do this in their homes and cars for a reason other than just privacy/aesthetics.

While newer building construction may follow higher efficiency standards and this is exciting to hear about, I think we will be using older buildings for quite some time.

This effort would be low hanging fruit and should be a relatively cheap/easy solution (if not already done government-wide). Dramatic savings on heating and cooling can be realized for cheap and it should pay for itself in short time, along with making for a healthier/more comfortable work environment.

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Idea No. 7590