To help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in buildings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that the amount of fresh air that’s pumped in to buildings increases to as much as 100 percent.
In this blog, we’ll look at the application of commercial window tinting to help offset the increased energy costs and reduce HVAC wear and tear caused by evolving building ventilation practices. We’ll also examine why buildings are being forced to rethink the amount of fresh air that’s pumped in through their ventilation systems.
Why Increase Outdoor Air?
COVID-19 research indicates the virus is more likely to spread when people are confined to indoor spaces. This is especially true when they’re in close proximity and breathing the same recirculated air. In fact, in one research study, only one COVID-19 case out of 7,000-plus was contracted outdoors.
The virus is less likely to spread through the air from person to person outdoors because it dissipates faster. Pumping more outdoor air into buildings is a tactic many facility managers will need to consider to reduce the spread of this infectious disease. However, while this strategy is good from a health standpoint, it’s counter-intuitive to standard ventilation practices typically aimed at improving sustainability and using less energy.
In fact, prior to COVID-19, about 85 percent of air in office buildings was recirculated air. Only 15 percent was fresh air from outside. But now, as many businesses are trying to figure out how to prepare their offices so that workers can safely return, they’re having to reevaluate their building ventilation systems and make changes.
Increasing the amount of outdoor air we pump into buildings will lead to higher energy costs. This is because HVAC systems will need to heat and cool larger volumes of outside air. This requires more work than simply circulating air.
Heating and cooling larger volumes of air will also result in more HVAC repair bills as systems strain to work harder. Overworked systems lead to more breakdowns, especially in the hottest and coldest months of the year.
How Can Commercial Window Tinting Reduce HVAC Wear & Tear?
Commercial window tinting can help offset the higher energy costs and reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system in two very important ways.
Significant Heat Reduction
Window film is very effective at minimizing the heat entering buildings. That’s because it reflects both UV rays and solar heat. Solar heat comes from the visible light we can see and also the infrared light that we feel.
3M™ Prestige Series window tint uses non-metalized, multi-layered optical film and nanotechnology. Both of these features work together in this film to reject up to 97% of the sun’s heat-producing infrared light and as much as 82% of the heat that comes through windows.
This keeps buildings cooler so HVAC systems don’t have to work as hard. Building occupants also enjoy a more comfortable environment due to the elimination of hot spots and reduced glare.
Commercial window tinting provides a thin layer of insulation to windows and glass doors. This keeps cool air inside during the summer and warm air in during the winter.
How much air do you actually lose through your windows? It’s far more than you might expect. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), up to 35% of energy lost in buildings goes out through windows.
So, how effective can window film be at preventing this loss of indoor air that you’ve paid to heat or cool? The DOE considers window film to be a top-tier technology for energy conservation with a fast payback on your investment within approximately three years.
Not only can you sometimes see ROI in less than a year, but you also don’t have to wait for the energy savings, improved comfort, and reduced wear and tear on your HVAC system. Those benefits are immediate. The typical building owner can expect to save approximately $1-2 per square foot of film installed, or as much as $19 kWh per square foot of glass, according to the DOE.
Learn More About Commercial Window Tinting
As the largest 3M dealer in the Midwest with over 40 years of experience, there’s no project we can’t tackle. In fact, we’ve installed over 500,000 square feet of window film in the last year. Connect with us and receive your free quote and energy savings estimate.