Artscape Window Film | Installing permanent window film is very effective, but being permanent, it can’t be removed
for free passive solar winter heating. Some of the newer almost clear low-
emissivity permanent window films reduce summer heat gain and also reduce winter heat loss back outdoors. Even though they block some solar winter heat gain, they save overall.
Removable window film is another option. You can install it on your south- and west-facing windows in early spring and remove it in the fall. If you take care of it, the film can be reused for many years and will not lose its effectiveness.
This film is often available in a bronze or smoke tint. It is best to install it on the interior surface of the window glass. Clean the window thoroughly and squeegee the film to the window while it is still wet. Because the film is tinted, do not use it on double-pane windows. In the direct sun, the absorbed heat may make the glass panes too hot and the seal between them may fail.
Another static-cling film option is film imprinted with stained or etched glass or floral patterns. Although the patterns do not block as much heat as tinted film, they do block some heat.
Another option is a roll-up sun control shade. The most effective ones slide in vertical side tracks in the window opening. These can use special sun-control fabrics, screening or window film material.
The following companies offer removable window film and shades: Artscape (1-877-729-0708, www.
artscape-inc.com); Etch Art (1-800-320-8439, www.wallpaperfor
windows.com); Gila Film Products (1-800-528-4481, www.gilafilms.com); Halcyon Shades (1-800-234-2280, www.halcyonshades.com); and North Solar Screen (1-866-230-4700, www.northsolarscreen.com).
Q: Our house is built into a hill for energy efficiency. This provides us with a daylight basement. We want to add air conditioning to the basement, but don’t want window units. What are our options?
A: Building a house into a hill is energy-efficient. I am surprised that your basement doesn’t stay cool, but perhaps the sun warms it through the glass during the afternoon.
A mini-split ductless system is probably your best cooling option if you don’t want a window unit. These systems have the cooling coils and blower mounted on the wall. The outdoor compressor is connected to it with a small refrigerant tube and wiring.