By Peter Davey, American Window Film, Inc.
S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y, the post-9/11 unofficial national mantra, is fore­most in our minds. With the rapid approach of the 2004 Democratic National Convention coming to Boston’s Fleet Center, it is a particularly hot topic for city officials, property owners, resi­dents and visitors. An anticipated 35,000 visitors are expected to arrive this July and an “aggressive security plan will be in place” according to Special Agent Scott W. Sheafe, coordinator of the Secret Service Agency’s plan for the city (Corey Dade, “Convention Security Takes Shape”, Boston Globe, October 11, 2003). Boston and its neighbors are preparing and prioritiz­ing security efforts. Increased terrorist activity, including attacks on private sector “soft targets” (vulnerable, non-military targets), has motivated property owners and facilities managers to assess their buildings’ security vulnerability through physical surveys and procedural reviews of measures currently in place. The pri­vate sector’s challenge is to increase safety and security while remaining competitive. The likelihood of initiating new safety measures depends upon certain basic business realities. Can we afford it, how much of an impact will it have on productivity, and is there a return on investment? A good Security Vulnerability Assessment will include an evaluation of glazing substances on perimeter windows in order to mitigate the harm­ful and destructive effects of vandalism, explosive blasts and even severe weather-–all of which can turn windows into lethal flying shards of glass. Numerous reports have documented injuries, fatalities and the destruction of property resulting from hazardous flying glass. Today, security window films, engineered with powerful adhe-sives, perform well under stress, hold­ing shattered glass in place. They offer a cost-effective measure of security and a return on investment resulting from the savings enjoyed from lower utility bills and reduced HVAC maintenance.
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 an $18 billion diver­sified technology company and an ISO9002 certified facility, 3M continues to place emphasis on research and development and is the only window film manufacturer that uses its own adhesives that ensure lifelong optical clarity. 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.
Scotchshield™ security window films’ strength is credited to 3M Company’s patented micro-thin, alternating layered technology. Per GSA test standard protocols, Applied Research Associates, Inc. conducted a series of high explo­sive blasts on panes of glass with applied Scotchshield™ security films at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. An equivalent of 500 lbs. of TNT was used as a test charge placed at various distances from these glass panels. 3M security films provided sig­nificant reductions in glass fragment hazards compared to unprotected win­dows. They performed very well, meet­ing specified criteria for GSA buildings with security classifications of Level C and D. A video tape of the blast testing and its associated report are available from your local authorized 3M window film dealer.
Compared to the expense of glass replacement, retrofitting with security window film offers an affordable and justifiable option for improving safety. Using meters that gauge solar per­formance and sophisticated software that calculates ROI, trained profession­als can provide estimates of realistic energy savings that can be generated from the application of a well-manufac­tured window film. With little interrup­tion to productivity, a quick, clean installation of security film offers a low-profile safety measure that pays for itself over time. In addition to a return on investment, knowing that the risk of injury to occupants, employees and visitors to your building has been sub­stantially reduced will result in the immeasurable reward of peace-of-mind.
Peter J.Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc.(previously known as New England Sun Control of MA & NH), a 3M AuthorizedWindow Film Dealer, located in Foxboro, MA, 800-274-TINT, www.americanwindow film.com.