Marketing Window Film: The Right Film 
Solves Multiple Building Management Problems

By Marty Watts, V-Kool Inc.

Heat-blocking applied window film came of age in the 1960s. In those days, buildings with extensive amounts of glass often overheated from too much solar energy just as many do today. The solution to reduce temperatures and air conditioning operating cost was to apply a heat-blocking window film. Same solution for every building. One size fit all.

Today, property managers are much more sophisticated, often seeking multiple solutions from window film than in days gone by. Yes, many buildings still suffer from too much heat but in three major window film markets - retail, healthcare and foodservice - the right window film not only reduces the impact of too much solar energy, it address specific challenges particular to the needs of such diverse market segments.

Now, more than ever, window film dealers need to understand the business their customers are in and how the proper window film can solve the specific building management requirement of particular businesses.

In retail, healthcare and foodservice, window film must provide not only heat control but UV protection and a high degree of visible light transmission. Unfortunately, while most window films block heat and UV, many do so by also blocking visible light. In fact,most conventional window films transmit less than 34% of visible light, a good 36% less than the 70% necessary to be undetected by the naked eye. 

The result is building interiors are correspondingly darkened, often requiring the use of increased illumination. This may lead to higher electricity consumption that may increase inside temperatures requiring more air-conditioning. Increased utility costs defeat the major benefit of the film — cost savings.

Fortunately, films able to block heat while transmitting normal levels of visible light (called spectrally selective window films) such as V-Kool are available to address the growing desire for optimal visible light in the retail, healthcare and foodservice markets.

In fact, in the fast moving world of retail, it is no surprise that windows, skylights and the natural daylight they bring provides multiple benefits such as:

 • A reduction in energy used for lighting by as much as 80 percent and an overall reduction of total energy use by as much as 33%. Source US Department of Energy'

 • A 2003 study of retailers found the profit from increased sales associated with daylight is worth at least 19 times more than the energy savings and may be worth 45-100 times more than the energy savings. Source: California Energy Commission

 • Wal-Mart found that store departments with skylights enjoyed increased sales per square foot compared to departments in the same store without skylights. Source: Rocky Mountain Institute.

 • Daylight can reinforce natural circadian rhythms and the production of neural transmitters such as serotonin. Higher natural illumination levels have been associated with greater mental acuity and increased basal body temperature. Source Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

What's missing from the rosy scenario regarding day lighting is that one facility's daylight is another facility's sunlight. Daylight is cool both stylistically and temperature-wise. Sunlight is hot temperature-wise and, despite all the positive benefits of day lighting, an increased and widespread use of glass can result in overheating from too much solar energy.

Glass-intensive convenience stores are a case in point. Too much heat creates issues way beyond the need to run the air conditioning more than otherwise would be the case. For several RaceTrac convenience stores in the southeast, solar heat led to thousands of dollars of heat damaged merchandise from melted candy to faded labels on boxes and cans.  

RaceTrac initially initially installed approximately 600 sq. feet of V-Kool at stores in Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Georgetown, Texas. The stores, ranging in size from 3,200 to 3,800 sq. feet, report no heat or UV damaged merchandise and reductions in air conditioning costs of 10%.

QuikTrip, a 333 convenience store chain operating from Arizona to Florida, is concerned about overheating in newly constructed stores. “Our architects told us that new stores in Arizona would require larger sized air conditioners than we had been using elsewhere,” explained Danny Ward, parts and materials buyer.

For six Quik Trip stores in Arizona and Texas, larger air conditioning units were not necessary with the installation of V-Kool. “In stores with V-Kool we've had no heat damaged merchandise or complaints about high temperatures,” reports Ward. 

Convenience stores need both heat control and a window film that does not darken existing glass, reduce visible light transmission and make seeing into and out of the stores a problem. Other retailers also require protection against the fading damage caused by ultraviolet radiation such as certain Borders Books locations in which V-Kool film has been installed.

“Had we not taken quick action and installed V-Kool, we might have sustained as much as $3,000 in fading damage in one store alone,” says Lisa Finn, property manager coordinator at Everfast, Inc., the parent company of Calico Corners, a nation wide fabric retailer.

About 50 of Zales 2,000 popular jewelry stores with extensive exterior glass are equipped with V-Kool window film. “Our staff complains less about the heat and we are saving more on air conditioning expense,” said Howard Web, senior store planner at Zales Irving, Texas headquarters. “UV fading damage has also been reduced.”

Daylighting & Healthcare Facilities

The benefits of day lighting are not limited to retail environments. Consider the impact of natural light in healthcare facilities.

• Natural light reduces the prevalence of infectious airborne micro-organisms in patient hospital rooms. Source: Sustainable Industries

• In a Southern California veteran's hospital, patients exposed to daylight suffered less depression and recovered faster than those that did not. Source: Lighting Magazine

•  Increased day lighting in patient rooms may ease post-surgical pain, decrease the use of pain medication and reduce the length of stay. Source: The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

• Post-operative patients with a view of vegetation take far fewer painkillers and recover dramatically faster than patients who look out on a concrete wall. Source: Science

• Hospital patients located next to windows recuperate more rapidly than those farther away from daylight and views. Source: Buildings magazine

• Staff in hospitals with increased levels of natural light exhibit reduced attrition compared to hospital staffs not exposed to natural light. Source: The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance 

•  Day lighting reduces eye strain and improves dental health too! Source: Lighting Magazine

•  Day lighting increases levels of concentration and recall. Source: San Francisco Gate

According to an article in Consulting Specifying Engineer another way to measure the impact of hospital day lighting is to note that it can add up to reductions in energy use as high as 86%.

As in retail environments, the challenge is to keep day lighting from overheating healthcare facilities. In that regard, spectrally selective window film is the solution which sometimes also results in an immediate cash incentive to building owners. For example, the Westchester Medical Plaza in Los Angeles has received a $6,804 rebate from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power for applying V-Kool spectrally selective applied window film to existing south, west and east facing glass.

“The installation of V-Kool immediately reduced indoor temperatures bringing relief to building tenants whose offices had been over-heating,” explains Ferdinand Fam, operating partner of the 12-story, facility that provides office space to physicians and dentists. “The selection of V-Kool, not only will reduce energy costs and improve comfort but entitled us to receive a timely rebate from the local utility of approximately 8% of the film's total cost.” The rebate was paid only two months after the film had been installed.

Until the installation of 13,000 square feet of V-Kool film, the 78,900 square foot facility experienced severe solar overheating necessitating almost continuous operation of the air conditioning system. Almost all of the heat entered the building through existing glass.

Foodservice – Controlling Heat While 
Enticing Walk-In & Drive-By Customers

V-Kool window film has reduced solar heat and increased customer comfort at McDonald's franchises in Michigan while not darkening or changing the appearance of the properties' existing clear glass.

Even in winter, customers at McDonald's restaurants in Flint and Petoskey, Michigan experienced excessive solar heat through existing windows. Patrons were reluctant to sit near windows in the Flint McDonald's dining room. In Petoskey, napkin dispensers became too hot to touch. Temperatures in the children's play area were uncomfortably hot.

 “Rather than spend thousands of dollars to replace existing glass, McDonald's asked us to install V-Kool, a clear window film that blocks solar heat without significantly reducing visible light or changing the appearance of existing glass,” said Mark Stempien of Sunique Window Tinting in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Stempien installed between 500 and 900 square feet of V-Kool in each McDonald's. Since then, management at both fast food operations report customers no longer complain about excessive heat.

V-Kool has reduced solar heat and increased customer comfort at Starbucks' coffee houses in northern New Jersey. Starbucks' facilities experienced excessive solar heat through existing windows.

Over 100 square feet of V-Kool was installed in a number of Starbucks' facilities. Since then, management reports a reduction in excessive heat while maintaining the ability of prospective customers to see the store was open for business.

Whether the need is facilitating day lighting, heat control, fading protection or business-promoting and security-enhancing visibility and transparency, spectrally selective window film offers property managers the ability to solve multiple problems at a modest cost.

Marty Watts is President and CEO of V-Kool, Inc., Houston, TX, the exclusive North American distributor of V-Kool spectrally selective applied window films for commercial, residential and specialized vehicular applications. 

For information contact V-Kool, Inc., at 800 217-7046 and at

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