Solar Window Film Blocks Heat and Prevents Fading

Keeping your cool this summer just got easier. Your air conditioner and wallet can both take it easy because there’s a new tool in your home energy toolbox.

As we all know, windows are a fantastic source of natural light, but the same unfortunately, goes for heat. That late afternoon sun can turn an apartment into an oven and push even the most energy-conscious homeowner to crank that a/c all the way up.
You can solve this problem very easily with solar window film.
AND all the research’s been done for you… AND Sierra Club Green Home readers get a whooping 20% off their purchase of window film through (see instructions at the bottom)

Window film facts:
There are several types of window films: Decorative, Security, and Solar. Solar window film is transparent window tint installed on your existing windows. Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduces your A/C costs up to 30%
  • 99% UV protection
  • Up to 70% heat-rejecting
  • Insulates your glass in the winter
  • Reduces glare
  • Can be used for privacy
  • Can be installed professionally or by yoursel

If you’re renting and are worried about your landlord charging you for “modifications,” read on, we have the answer to this question and more in this post!

There are 3 ways to install solar window film:

  1. Go to your local hardware store and buy whatever they have
  2. Shop online and buy just the film and install it yourself
  3. Opt for a full service solution, pay, kick back and relax with a cold beverage while the men are working on your windows.

We tried Option 1 last summer and although we did see a dramatic reduction of the amount of heat entering the apartment, the film was completely faded when we took it off in September, so its life is only about 3-4 months. The installation was rather awkward requiring the use of a hairdryer to basically melt the film onto the window. We didn’t want to do this, so ended up affixing it to the inside of the window frame and when removed in September, the film was almost completely faded.

Needless to say, the tactic needs to change for this year. I did a bit of shopping around and found some great resources: is a great site for a DIY installation.
They sell professional grade metallized films, made by sputtering, not the PVC or Polyesther films found in your regular home improvement shops. These films last 5-7 years, and the metallized surface rejects up to 70% of heat.
Another great thing about this film is that in the unlikely event your landlord would want you to take the film off, you can. Just pick at the corner with a razor blade and pull it off.
The installation process is very simple as well, no hairdryer required!
All you need is:

  • plastic utility knife – INCLUDED IN KIT
  • quality installation squeegee – INCLUDED IN KIT
  • plastic razor blade for removing stuck on dirt from the glass – INCLUDED IN KIT
  • 32oz spray bottle with mild detergent
  • some paper towel
  • tape measure and a strait edge such as a ruler
    The complete instructions are available on the website, but essentially all you have to do is cut a piece a bit bigger than your glass, pull release liner off, spray solution, put film on the window, squeegee out.

According to Tim from Window Film and More, a typical New York apartment would cost around $140 in film and will save approximately 10% on the cooling costs
Sierra Club Green Home readers get a 20% off coupon on Solar Window Film, if purchased from their site before July 1st. Simply choose the solar window film you like here and use the coupon
code “sierraclub” during checkout.

Next week we’ll go to the source in exploring Option 3 – hiring a company to do it all for you.

Kate Shifman is a New Yorker, sustainability professional, photographer, and publisher of Solar In The City, a solar and energy efficiency guide for the city dweller


  1. plastic guttering November 6, 2011
  2. klaudie July 6, 2012
  3. frank October 12, 2012

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