Safety and Security Window Film – by Peter J. Davey, President, American Window Film, Inc.

Unfortunately, for all of us, school safety has become a critical topic of concern in our daily lives. As a result, school systems are under tremendous pressure to quickly establish effective safety measures that will increase protection and improve the safety of school children and educational staff.
Hallway Doors & WindowsSchool superintendents, facility managers, principals and teachers are discovering that the glass on the windows and doors of their school building is an extremely vulnerable entry point into their school. This vulnerability is compounded by the fact that most schools do not have laminated glass to help prevent shattering, resulting in potentially easy access through a glassless frame. School decision makers are searching for assistance to help protect these critical entry points. Thankfully, hundreds of schools throughout the country have been retrofitted with safety and security window film that can help mitigate the injuries and damages caused by acts of terror, vandalism, violent weather and blasts. However, there are still schools with windows in need of the added protection of safety and security film.
A strong, quality safety window film has many benefits. An installation is more cost effective than replacing windows and doors with laminated glass. Quick implementation and easy application over the existing glazing allows for little interruption of school activities. Although potential intruders may not be completely stopped from entering, safety and security film can act as a deterrent and provide precious extra response time by slowing down the intruder dramatically. A quality safety film, installed by reputable and experienced installers, can leave intruders frustrated and have them moving on, as alarms are sounding and police cruisers start heading their way.
3M Company began the history of window film in 1961 with their patent application and subsequent patent grant for a metalized solar control window film. Responding to demand, 3M developed security films to address international concerns regarding terrorist activity including less publicized, yet highly destructive, vandalism. Shatter-resistance window films are a low profile, high performance measure of security. A premium film will conform to ANSI and CPS glazing standards and will have been subjected to rigorous GSA blast testing or other credible, independent glazing standards and blast testing procedures.
When choosing a safety and security film, pay close attention to its tear- and shatter-resistance. Along with the film itself, its attachment system is important. An Impact Protection Attachment System bonds the filmed window to the frame, offering the highest level of protection when combined with safety film.
School facility managers and decision makers also face taxpayer and State demands to reduce budgets and improve building energy efficiency. An installation of insulating, Low-E window film conserves energy and reduces heat gain and loss through windows all year long – substantially reducing HVAC expense. Featuring Wavelength-Selective metals that block more of the solar spectrum than conventional metals, Low-E window films can block up to 73 percent of the sun’s heat in warmer months. In colder months, they can reduce heat loss by up to 30 percent.
Many window films meet LEED Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisites and qualify for LEED credits in multiple categories. The “Daylight and Views” category is particularly significant relative to schools. Specific window films allow for “daylighting” – an energy conservation trend of maximizing the amount of natural light entering a room in order to reduce consumption of electricity to light our way. Instead of closing roomdarkening drapes to avoid heat gain and subsequently turning on electric lights, a quality solar control window film allows sunlight in while reducing infrared, heat-producing light, as well as glare. A knowledgeable window film dealer can provide specific performance results for any window film, such as UV Light Rejected, Visible Light Transmitted and Rejected, Solar Heat Reduction, and Glare Reduction properties.
Although school has begun in most communities, it’s not too late to fortify your school’s windows and doors. An installation is quick, clean and affordable…and multiple classrooms can be retrofitted in a single afternoon. Improved safety for students, teachers, faculty and staff in one afternoon…sounds like an immediate, effective safety and conservation measure for schools and any building to me!
Peter J. Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc. a 3M™ Authorized Prestige Window Film Dealer, located in Foxboro and Boston, MA, and Atlanta, GA., 800-274-TINT
Article published in High Profile Monthly, Educational Facility Development, September 2013