By Jeffrey R. Plummer
Window film provides multiple benefits for buildings. Film reduces annoying glare, moderates internal temperatures, and prolongs the life of valued interiors and furnishings. In addition to these great benefits, here are five ways facility management can utilize window film to keep their buildings and occupants more safe and secure.
- Anti-Intrusion. Most intrusions take place directly through windows. The intruder breaks in and has time to get in and out of the building before action is taken. When window film is applied to the glass, the broken fragments are held in place making it harder for the intruder to gain entry. And if they do get in, they’ll have far less time to complete their crime.
- Blast Mitigation. You hope it never happens to you, but unfortunately chemical explosions and man-made threats do affect buildings. Window film can help mitigate the damage from any blast that may take place. The film provides passive protection that works the very second a threat occurs. Shards of glass and flying debris can cause danger to people inside and outside the building. A single square foot of glass can produce up to hundreds of deadly, razor sharp fragments.
- Security During Natural Disasters. Window film prevents glass from shattering during natural disasters. Even if windows do end up breaking during a storm, for instance, the glass shards are held together to prevent injury to those taking refuge inside. After the storm, as the film keeps the shattered glass in place, it also helps to thwart entry of potential looters.
- Graffiti Removal. The presence of graffiti on any building can make the area look uncared for and rundown. Not only is it an eyesore, it’s also costly to clean up. When anti-graffiti window film is installed, it ensures that if graffiti artists deface the building, their impact won’t be permanent. With this film, the window itself is not impacted. No matter how elaborate or widespread the “art,” this sacrificial layer of film can be removed and replaced.
- Employee Safety And Health. It may not be noticed right away, but all the benefits window film provides make for a better working environment. Window film can also greatly reduce energy costs by blocking exterior heat in the summer and preserving interior heat in the winter. Some also block up to 99% of UV rays — reducing fading of furniture and carpets, as well as protecting occupants from the sun’s damaging rays. Comfort enhancement and glare reduction inside a building can lead to increased productivity.
It’s important to note that in order to get the full safety benefits, facility executives need to get the window film professionally installed, and it needs to meet recognized standards. Facility decision-makers can check that the safety and security window films being considered have been tested to perform against ANSI Z97.1, a basic personal safety rating, and GSA-TS01-2003, a large scale blast mitigation standard (link to GSA-TS01-2003 PDF). Making sure the film is installed up to industry standards is important to maximize the safety benefits.
Facility management professionals and operations personnel have focused their attention on dozens of new security initiatives, from video surveillance to alarm systems, but window film is often overlooked. It’s virtually invisible, is relatively quick and inexpensive to install, and works around the clock to improve security and safety. When integrated with a well-planned system of other security measures, window film can offer peace of mind that a building and its occupants are safe and secure.
Plummer is the senior vice president of sales and marketing for Madico, Inc., a window film manufacturer based in St. Petersburg, FL.