The Future of Buildings is Green
It’s no secret that the future of commercial buildings is green. Whether the driver is climate change, corporate mandates, public opinion, or government regulations, we’re all working to make our buildings energy efficient. And rightfully so: buildings account for roughly 29% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, that number was 1.9 billion tons of CO2!
It’s time for greener buildings.
Glazing is a Glaring Contributor to Building Inefficiency
When it comes to building energy efficiency, glazing is one of the biggest contributors to building inefficiency:
34% of heating and cooling energy demand in commercial buildings is due to windows.
So, what can be done?
Well, one option is to replace windows. But window replacements are REALLY expensive, cause disruption to operations, and worst of all, create landfill waste.
Thankfully, there’s a simple, sustainable solution: Window Film.
Sun Control and All Season Window Film
Forget the purple bubbled film you saw on the old 80’s era hatch back. Next generation patented films are embedded with the latest science that not only improves building energy efficiency, but can also help protect people and property from seismic, bomb blast, smash and grab, and windstorm events.
Solar window film is a multi-layer construction thin sheet of clear polyester that is applied to the exterior or interior of windows using a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The various levels of transparency range from completely clear to highly reflective, or very muted and dark, and everything in-between.
3M’s spectrally select multi optical construction film, Prestige, provides the highest heat gain reduction to light transmission ratio of any product on the market when applied to dual pane glass: up to 66%. It has no metals, is safe for 5G, and has no reflectivity, and improves occupant comfort.
Spectrally Selective Infrared rejecting films are designed to let the maximum amount of light in while rejecting maximum amount of heat without changing the appearance of the glass. They reject as much as 97% of the infrared energy which is the primary cause of heat and 99% of the UV rays.
One of the latest innovations in solar window film is Low Emissivity window films. When applied to single-pane glass, Low-E Films can reduce heat loss in the colder months by up to 40%, reject up to 47% of the total solar energy in the warmer months, and improve glazing performance to almost dual pane level. Sounds like numbers that would make your HVAC system sigh in relief.
Emissions, Regulations, and Taxes, Oh My!
And if your HVAC isn’t being taxed, there’s a good chance you won’t be either. New York set the cost of carbon dioxide emissions at $125 per metric ton, and the Federal Government estimates the social cost of greenhouse gasses between $51 an $152 per ton of CO2.
What is the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases?
The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases is an estimation in today’s dollars of the value of all climate change impacts such as changes in agricultural productivity, human health, property damage from increased flood risk and natural disasters, disruption of energy systems, risk of human conflict, and other environmentally important costs of recovery.
Simply put, if recovery from a climate-related disaster costs $1B in 2030, what do we need to spend today to avoid it? Let’s do the math:
NGS modeled a building in Washington, DC. Recently the building reported electrical consumption being responsible for over 5,000 metric tons of CO2 emission in an average year. If taxed by the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, their bill would be between $255,000 and $760,000 (and that’s in addition to their $2 million dollar electrical bill!).
A Clear Solution to Building Efficiency: Window Film
If that same building had 3M™ Prestige 40 Exterior installed per our model, they would reduce their cost of CO2 emissions by over 10% in addition to saving over $200,000 each year on their electric bill.
It’s no wonder the world’s largest owner of commercial building space (the Federal Government) recommends window attachments to improve energy efficiency. Just this year, the Department of Energy launched the Better Buildings Initiative which supports the Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions which calls out the need for window film to assist in decarbonizing the grid.
But beyond the hefty price tag or Uncle Sam’s recommendations, it’s in the best interest of our planet, our people, and even our profits to make our buildings better.
So… before you invest in high-efficiency HVAC systems or ask yourself “how many lightbulbs does it take?”, make your building greener with sun control and all season window films from NGS.
James Beale is a Managing Partner for NGS.