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Window Film that Prevents Heat Loss - Panacea for Post-and-Beam Homes?

window film
Is this a product that is too good to be true or the real deal?  

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. 

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tmgeorgo on Oct 13, 2008:

It's a real challenge to install.  Lots of patience and good preparation are key to getting the film installed smoothly and without bubbles or dirt under the film.  The films are effective though, they do help reduce heat from the sun and are a great way to improve energy efficient on older windows.


Daveed on Nov 30, 2007:

I live in Portland Oregon where it's cold and wet in the winter. I tried this product on a few of my windows to test it out. I've been very happy with the results. I put some up where my cat has her perch and instantly I felt a reduction in the chill from the glass. I also tried some on a porch that gets a lot of condensation. I tested 2 windows with the Energy Film and 2 without (side by side). I notice a reduction in condensation on the two windows with the film by about 50%. It is really easy to install, and uses no adhesives (which is important to me). It lets in plenty of light and it is surprisinlgly clear. I plan on putting it up on all of my windows.

 


Broke and Bitter on Nov 11, 2007:

When I was in college I took a part-time job selling replacement windows.  The top of the line model had this type of film suspended between the two panes of the double hung windows.  It was referred to as "Heat Mirror" film.

We always demo'd the windows with a heat lamp.  We placed the lamp on one side of the window and turned it on.  When you held your hand in front of the regular double pane window, you could feel that very little of the heat generated by the lamp was blocked.  When you did the same with the window that had the film, there was a dramatic drop in the heat felt.  Anyway, that was back in '95.  I'm sure they've made advances since then.

 


atrophie on Nov 08, 2007:

that's a really awesome product!  my Bay Area house is not an Eichler, but it is mid-century and has large windows, and a whole wall of them in my bedroom.

i'm a bit skeptical of how well a film could keep heat in though. 


eichler on Nov 08, 2007:

Bruno,

The way the manufacturer describes it, installation is very easy (soap, water, squigee).   

We had 'regular' window film professionally installed on our windows since we didn't want to worry about bubbling or seams.    See pic of the actual installation below.


bruno on Nov 08, 2007:

Wow, if this is as good as it sounds, it would be awesome! I wonder how hard it is to install...


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