As the owner of a Bay Area Eichler Home that has no weight-bearing walls and essentially is compromised of floor-to-ceiling single-pane glass throughout, we've grown to love the indoor /outdoor feel that our home provides however we've always had some general concerns about our mid-century modern 'glass house':
- Safety: floor-to-ceiling, single pane glass is common with many mid-century modern post-and beam homes. While this type of construction would not likely meet todays building code standards, its very common for vintage modern ranch homes throughout California (such as Eichlers, Cliff Mays, Alexanders and Streng Brothers homes) to include these single-pane "walls of glass".
- Glare and Fading: with a sun-drenched home, fading of the interior elements can be a common problem. Additionally, trying to watch television or speak to house guests can sometimes be a challenge if the sun is directly in your line of sight, which is common throughout the day with a home that consists of floor-to-ceiling glass throughout.
- Insulation: The insulation quality (or "R-factor") of huge, single pane windows throughtout a home is negligable. While the California climate is usually extremely pleasant, we do experience temperature drops in the winter and the lack of heat containtment within these glass houses is incredibly evident.
While most of these problems can be solved thru whole-house replacement of these original windows with double-pane, insulated and tinted windows, the cost is prohibitive ($25-$35k) for most homeowners.
The good news is that 2 of the 3 problems presented above (Safety and Glare/Fading) can be addressed thru use of high-quality window film for a fraction of the cost of full window replacement ($2-4k). We've added film to the windows of our Eichler home and have been pleased with the outcome, however we would have liked to have had a solution that would have also addressed the insulation / heat loss concern. To our knowledge, such a solution did not exist, until now.....
A new product named Energy Film was recently released which claims to prevent heat-loss and also provide the other benefits mentioned above. The manufacturer claims that the product is easy to install, unobtrusive/undetectable and effective at reducing heat loss by up to 38%. You can learn more about the product by visisting the Energy Film website.
If anyone has experience or opinions of this new window-film product, please share them since the product would appear to be a panacea for solving some of the challenges associated with a home that is encapsulated by glass walls.