Heating oil prices have hit record highs and concern exists that our already tight inventories will tighten even further in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. With continued instability in the Middle East along with the onset of cold weather, building owners and property managers are searching for ways to conserve energy in extremely challenging times. One economical conservation step -– that can be implemented before the snow flies – is to reduce the amount of heat escaping through your windows. A professional application of a quality insulating window film will not only lower heating expense; it can pay for itself in short order. According to Jim Maloof, American Window Film, Inc.’s Vice President of Sales, “The majority of commercial customers who purchase our window films to reduce temperature imbalances and improve tenant comfort easily justify their purchase through energy cost savings. And they don’t have to rely solely upon our word. We’ve placed monitoring equipment that accurately records differences in temperature inside of filmed and unfilmed adjacent windows. As a 3M Authorized Dealer, we have access to sophisticated software that projects energy cost savings. We often provide a comprehensive energy analysis that includes ROI projections for our large commercial customers.” 3M Company manufactures a family of window films designed with energy conservation in mind. Some feature unique Wavelength-Selective metals which block more of the solar spectrum than conventional metals. 3M Scotchtint™ Plus All Season Films work much the same way as their sun control films except that they offer increased performance against cold weather heat loss in addition to their solar performance (heat gain reduction) during warmer months. The patented construction of these films enables the metal coating to reflect more of the interior room heat back into the room. Personal comfort is improved and the reduction in drafts and fluctuations in temperature can generate considerable savings on fuel expense. 3M films are also protected with an effective abrasion resistant coating for long-term durability and maintained appearance. Applied to the inside of windows, a quick, clean installation of window film creates little disruption to the flow of business. 3M is the only window film manufacturer that produces their own raw materials such as polyesters, metals, scratch-resistant coatings and adhesives. Window film is only as good as its adhesive. A bad adhesive will produce bubbling and blistering – distortions created by thermal cycling that can ultimately result in seal failure. Unlike others, 3M’s ultraviolet inhibitors are included directly in their adhesive. This ensures lifelong clarity and reduces UV degradation, thus providing longlasting protection from fading of fabrics and furnishings. 3M Company began the history of window film in 1961 when a patent application was made and subsequently granted in 1966 for a metalized solar control window film. Responding to demand, 3M introduced solar control films, ultraviolet light control films, and low reflectivity, high optical clarity and shatter-resistant films over ensuing decades. Currently a $20 billion diversified technology company and an ISO9002 certified facility, 3M continues to place emphasis on research and development. Caveat emptor! There are window film dealers who sport the 3M logo yet are not authorized to sell or install 3M window films. If you ask for 3M and are diverted to a film – produced by another manufacturer -– that’s “better suited for your application”…beware. Sounds like “bait & switch” to me, and I would be concerned about the reputability of a dealer that uses this approach. If you wish to purchase a 3M product, look for “3M Authorized Dealer” on company literature, letterhead or promotional materials and question the representative. Some dealers will go to extremes to associate themselves with 3M, undoubtedly a leader in the window film industry. With so many factors contributing to the need for energy conservation, it seems foolish not to consider the purchase of insulating window film…a product that will pay for itself over time with the dollars saved in utilities expense. It will be well worth a few minutes of your time to talk with a professional window film dealer. An assessment of your building’s particular specifications and your specific concerns can be addressed quickly by those who have the knowledge, experience and the product that has proven itself in the field.