Like most professionals today, facilities managers face the conflicting challenge of reducing turnover while decreasing costs. But these goals are not as incompatible as they may appear. Advanced glass films can be used to satisfy tenant needs for safety and comfort, while contributing to the property’s bottom line.Safety & Security FilmsFrom terrorist attacks to accidental blasts, recent events have caused American workers to make office safety a priority. In response, many facility managers are evaluating ways to address this concern; however, cost constraints and fear of interfering with tenant productivity have stalled many safety projects.One way to strike a balance between safety and cost is to begin with the No. 1 safety hazard: flying glass and debris. Today’s security-grade safety films are powerful enough to bind glass shards together even as the building itself collapses; and unlike tempered glass, retrofit film installation is fast, cost-effective, and does not interfere with occupant productivity.Solar Control & Decorative FilmsTenants can be fickle. Complaints about comfort, for example, account for a significant number of maintenance requests and HVAC service call costs. Similarly, demands for more privacy often require expensive office interior improvements. But with tenant turnover a constant concern, facility managers often have little choice but to respond to these profit-draining requests.Solar control and decorative films can help lessen these demands. Solar films reflect heat and ultraviolet rays to eliminate “hot” and “cold” spots, reduce glare, and prevent furnishings from fading. The result is a safer, more comfortable environment. Installing these materials is a proven way to not only reduce the maintenance load from comfort-related complaints, but also curb energy consumption and costs. In fact, many energy providers in warm climates offer valuable rebate programs for businesses that install solar control films. Solar films are also available in a variety of tints and colors to improve building aesthetics.Smart design – particularly with regard to worker privacy – is another hot topic in the facilities management industry. Companies often want to increase privacy in glass-partitioned offices and conference rooms without compromising the airy, open feeling that makes glass such a desirable building material. Decorative films can create the look of etched or stained glass, but at a fraction of the cost and complexity of installing specialty glass. Specialty films are also available for specific applications, such as masking undesirable views by making the glass appear opaque from one angle of view, but transparent from another.New Media FilmsSome forward-thinking building managers have awakened to the idea that exterior windows can double as a valuable advertising or promotional medium, creating a new profit center. Convention centers were among the first to realize they could generate revenue by licensing glass space to conference exhibitors, permitting sponsors to essentially “wrap” the windows with their advertisements. But this model has evolved, and today some large commercial centers are applying various types of ink-on-laminate materials to advertise on their building’s glass façade.Today’s film materials are scientifically engineered to withstand explosions that can crumble a building, reject ultraviolet rays in the most heat-intensive geographies, and create the indistinguishable effect of specialty glass. Clearly, applications for advanced glass films are limited only by the imagination of building decision-makers.
Tom Niziolek is marketing and sales manager at Woburn, MA-based Madico ().