50 Shades of Green

April 4th, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

Film Facilitates Environmental Sustainability

By Chris Collier

Approximately 1,250 U.S. landfills are open for business, according to a 2021 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers. One of those sites is free of 472 pieces of spandrel glass due to a 2021 project by Xlnt Tint of Mid Atlantic Inc. in Owings, Md.

One Spandrel at a Time

“This building was being renovated, and the property owner said, ‘Great job inside, [but] we have to do something about the outside of this building,’” says Eric Hofer, vice president of business development at Xlnt Tint of Mid Atlantic Inc. “One of the contractors working in the building told the building management company, ‘I know someone who can help with this.’”

Located just outside Washington, D.C., the building was unoccupied during extensive renovations. Lobbies and exterior patios were revamped, and the company had initially quoted a removal and replacement for 472 pieces of bronze spandrel glass that contrasted with blue glass. But the company went with film, reducing cost by 75%.

“They took the existing glass and upgraded the color by using film,” Hofer says. “People think of ‘green’ as just being energy savings. But what about the disposal of these products?”

Hofer first walked the building on April 6, 2021, and completed the first mock-up that May. The installation process lasted six weeks, concluding in November. His team discovered a preferred shade of blue by combining two products—Avery Dennison DS Blackout and Avery Dennison DS Blue 35X. Two team members applied 944 pieces of film—two pieces for each
spandrel—and sealed the project with DOWSIL™ 791 Weatherproofing Sealant.

“To get that depth and dark blue color, we laid out the black film first and the blue on top,” Hofer says. “That gave us the color we were searching for.”

Traditional Sustainability

Many industry companies offer effective energy solutions in conventional ways, and National Glazing Solutions (NGS) of Canton, Ga., falls into that category. A Florida School District sought energy and security solutions in 2021, and the Window Film magazine 2021 Top Dealer came through.

“We did whole-building energy modeling for a sample of school types and found that on average electric consumption would decrease 5% from reduced cooling loads which approached 2,500 MWh,” says Mark Carlson, director of engineering and energy services at NGS. “Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) eGRID to correlate carbon reduction as a result of decreased electric consumption, the 2021 portion of the project alone reduced carbon equivalent emissions by 1,200 tons.”

NGS’ crew applied almost 87,000 square feet of dual-function solar security film on nearly 5,000 panes of glass during 2021. The company, which acquired CHB Industries (CHB) in January, has an “achievable” revenue goal of $50 million for 2022. Carlson says the industry can affect environmental efforts. Pursuing net-zero, a target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity is one of those endeavors.

“The thing about net-zero is that buildings can only go so far with efficiency because there will still be heating and cooling,” Carlson adds. “However, efficiency is a much more cost-effective first step prior to offsetting emissions with renewables such as solar. [But], much of the efficiency work regarding lighting and controls have been done. The U.S. Department of Energy understands windows are the next great opportunity and have spelled out window film (a.k.a. window attachments) in their Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions.”

Elon’s Environmental Mission

Tesla officials say their vehicles and solar panels enabled customers to avoid emitting 5.0 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2020. It’s only fitting that founder Elon Musk’s dealerships remain cognizant of sustainability options. Solar Art of Laguna Hills, Calif., placed 1,980 square feet of 3M™ Prestige 40 Exterior film at a Lynwood, Wash., dealership in February 2021.

“Although this was [specified] by an architect, I assume the goal was to control the [solar heat gain] in this occupied area with sales staff and customers,” says Scott Steckler, senior estimator at Solar Art. “It also [aimed] to reduce harsh sun glare, which can cause eye fatigue during the sales process.”

The project looks to reduce air-conditioning usage, thereby lessening overall energy usage. Steckler says film presents a way forward for architects seeking sustainable options. “It’s a viable way for improving the building on several levels without having to remove the glass or replace it.”

Security and Science

Extasy Tinting & Accessories of El Paso, Texas, applied 1,500 square feet of Solar Gard armorcoat® 8 mil silver 20 at a local social security building in May 2021, covering nearly 200 windows.

“There’s satisfaction,” says owner Gerardo Hernandez. “When you’re protecting the interior of a building, you’re expanding the life of anything inside. The carpet, drapes, chairs, and televisions—you have less of everything thrown away faster.”

Prestige Window Solutions Inc. had $1.2 million in sales for 2021, $218,000 in January 2022, and is on track for a projected 1.7 million this year. The company placed 8,500 square feet of 3M™ Prestige 40 Exterior film at a laboratory company that provides testing and support services to the pharmaceutical, food, environmental, agri-science, and consumer products industries as well as governments. President Danny Maldonado alternated six installers on the project, completed in August 2021.

“Film is a great alternative for commercial buildings looking to refresh their look and save on energy and costs,” Maldonado says.

Chris Collier is the assistant editor for Window Film magazine. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.
ccollier@glass.com

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