Solar Control Films

Solar-control films reflect or absorb solar energy before it reaches interior spaces. They save energy by reducing cooling demand.

Green Proving Ground (GPG) evaluated a spectrally-selective film at the Goodfellow Federal Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We found up to 29% heating and cooling energy savings in hot climates.

View full-size infographic. [PDF - 233 KB]

GPG Findings 017, January 2015, Applied Solar Control Retrofit Films. Opportunity:Windows in U.S. office buildings are responsible for how much cooling energy demand? 28% OF COOLING ENERGY DEMAND IS DUE TO HEAT GAIN IN WINDOWS. 10 MILLIONHOUSEHOLDS equivalent energy use.Technology: How do Applied Solar-Control Films work? REDUCE HEAT GAIN BY ABSORBING OR REFLECTING SOLAR ENERGY. Spectrally-selective films affect only the infrared spectrum, with little impact on the visibleappearance of glass. Measurement and Verification. Where did M and V occur? LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY assessed a liquid-applied absorbing solar-control film at the Goodfellow Federal Center in St. Louis, Missouri. They also modeled energy performance of both spectrally-selective absorbing and reflective films in warmer climates. Results:How did AppliedSolar-Control Films perform in M&V? GLAZING DEPENDENT. COST-EFFECTIVE FOR SINGLE-PANE CLEAR; NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DOUBLE-PANEBRONZE IN MOST CLIMATES.REFLECTIVE MORE EFFICIENT UP TO 29% HVAC ENERGY SAVINGS IN WARMER CLIMATES. Payback for reflective film in Phoenix is 4.9 years. Deployment: Where does M&V recommend deploying Applied Solar-Control Films? SINGLE-PANE CLEAR WINDOWS. Target buildings in climates with hot summers and mild winters, exposure to direct sun without exterior shading, and south, east or west orientations. Reflective film is currently more cost-effective and more broadly recommended.Consider absorbing films for historic buildings where reflected solar radiation might damage exterior wood trim. [PDF - 233 KB]

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Last Reviewed: 2021-09-28