Archive for the 'NFRC' Category

Madico Applied Window Films Receive NFRC Certification

A bronze medal is not all that bad… Madico Inc. is now the third window film manufacture to receive NFRC Certification. We reported the enormous significance of NFRC Certification and window film here. Who will be next to jump on board?

We anxiously await:

Johnson Window Films

3M

Geoshield

Global

Hanita Tek

SunTek

and the rest of the gang to do the right thing…

-vc

On-Angle Performance Measurements -My Angle

Well I guess it’s about time for me to address the whole “on-angle” Total Solar Energy Rejection measurement. As many of you are aware it is a measurement that is currently marketed by 3M to show the performance of their Prestige Window Film line. The whole premise is that the window film industry has always tested and derived the Total Solar Energy specification at 90° perpendicular to the glass. 3M reasons that the sun does not reside at 90° throughout the day, especially at the hottest part of the day, thus the need to create a film that in their mind performs better “on-angle.” So the need for an “on-angle” measurement arises and subsequently the specification finds its way into their marketing literature.

Despite the fact that the window film industry has never promoted such a measurement and the NFRC does not post angular performance data on the product certification labels, the general public is left to assume that this is a common measurement that sets one product apart from all others. The assumption gets propagated further when window film dealers add inaccurate statements and insert fiction into what is fact. For instance one dealer writes a rebuttal on their website in response to the statement:

3M’s total solar energy on angle spec is not supported by the National Fenestration Rating Counsel

Dealer’s Response: This is true but this is new technology. No other manufacturer (glass or window film) can rate their product this way. The two hundred layers in the new 3M Prestige window films with nano technology make this new on angle specification possible. All window film manufacturers measure the total solar energy rejected at a 90 degree angle to the glass.

Let us separate fact from fiction here…

Fact: The NFRC does not support the Total Solar Energy Rejection On-Angle specification. All manufactures measure the total solar energy rejected at a 90 degree angle to the glass.

Fiction: The statement that this is new technology and that no other manufacturer (glass or window film) can rate their product this way. Also the statement that it is 3M’s multi-layer nano-technology that make this new angular specification possible.

The reality is that any manufacture can easily report their performance ratings this way, if they wanted too. This specification is not made possible by the unique construction of Prestige Window Film’s multi-layer technology nor is the on-angle measurement a new measurement. Lawrence Berkley Laboratories has had software available for many years that gives angular performance data of window coatings and window films on almost any glass type available. This software and the measurements that result from it are recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE). 3M did not invent this measurement and neither did any other window film manufacturer for that matter. So let’s use this LBNL software and run our own test comparing “on-angle” performance data of a few films. This particular test was run on clear single pane glass .120 inch in thickness with some 70% vlt films that have their specifications listed.

Sun’s Angle

SHGC @ 0°

SHGC @ 30°

SHGC @ 60°

SHGC @ 80°

SHGC @ 90°

Prestige 70

0.503

0.499

0.427

0.188

0.00

Vista VS 70

0.476

0.471

0.404

0.178

0.00

V-Kool 70

0.440

0.435

0.373

0.164

0.00

What I’m seeing here is that there is on-angle data available for all 3 brands not just Prestige. The SHGC or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient is the opposite of the Total Solar Energy Rejection measurement. The lower the number, the better the overall performance. So ignore the fact that Prestige 70 gets outperformed on every measurement by the other two films, but rather, focus on the pattern. As the sun’s angle increases, the performance of each film increases as well. So much so that when the sun is directly above the window all of these films perform extremely well; they reject all of the sun’s energy! By the way… clear glass has a 0.00 SHGC at 90° too. Why? Obviously as the sun orientates to a higher angle above the window less energy transmits through the glass.

So this whole idea of a company’s technology making a new measurement possible or window film being designed to be unsurpassed by any other window films in on-angle performance is unfounded and inaccurate. Let’s give the consumer some dignity as well as some accurate and relevant data that will not fool them into believing that one product is something that it is not. Window Film Manufacturers can do this by adopting standardized performance measurements and using well respected third party agencies like the NFRC to verify these measurements. Window Film Dealers can and should educate themselves so that they do not propagate inaccurate and false information to the consumer for if they continue to do so, it will only serve discredit a product that is so badly needed in a time where energy conservation is vital.

-vc

Is it Accurate?

Accuracy counts… in some things.

-“He missed by a mile!

-“We were close…”

-“Looks good to me…

These expressions are one thing when stated by your sports caster or weatherman but quite another if you heard your accountant or surgeon make such statements. Accuracy is important, even vital in some instances.

The window film industry has suffered from inaccuracy, inflated paybacks, unfounded statistics, and misapplied specifications among many other things. For instance, how many times has someone misapplied single pane 1/8th inch glass specifications saying that a 15%vlt window film will block 80% of the total solar energy when the window that is being considered is dual pane? If you did then you certainly missed this one by a mile for the total solar energy rejected on insulated clear glass is closer to 71% not 80%! “Well, we were close” you may say… Hardly! What if this was a 40,000 sq foot project? The results would be different, one would be accurate and the other would be inaccurate.

This scenario can create a chain reaction of misinformation such as an inflated payback or ROI (return on investment). Statistical data becomes inaccurate when we do not take the time to generate factual data. We then have a problem because once someone discovers that we have taken liberties with specifications it erodes our credibility as a whole. It is much more beneficial to not only bring accurate data to the table so to say, but to also be able to verify that the data is accurate and explain why that is so.

For years now the window film industry has measured most of their published specifications on 1/8″ clear single pane glass. We blogged why this was the common practice and the reasoning and benefit behind it. There was always a need for a standardized specification and standardized testing that could be verified by a neutral 3rd party to be both accurate and at the same time recognized by agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE). This was a crucial step in leaving old practices behind and moving a head in the promotion of accuracy. It was also vital so that single-region measurements would not be mismarketed to the general public and misinterpreted as total solar performance data.

A landmark occasion has arrived for the window film industry. There is a neutral 3rd party organization to certify window film performance specifications not just on single pane glass but on dual pane glass as well. The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization that administers the only uniform, independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights, attachment, and applied window film products. Currently, there are two window film manufacturers with certified products listed in the NFRC Applied Films Directory. This accurate data can be used to not only compare the total performance of one film to the next, but it can also be used to calculate the glass’ affect on building performance and the return on investing in window film.

We have come a long way from presenting our customers with a specification card that in most instances does not apply to their glass situation and yields an inaccurate result. NFRC Certified Films are now recognized by the DOE as an energy saving device and in time, will qualify to be rated as Energy Star products. Consumers can rest assured that they are being given the most accurate and relevant data to date so the they can be confident in their buying decision.

-vc

IR Rejection Part2 –The Slight of Bandwidth

I might catch a bunch of grief over this blog but I feel it is something that needs to be addressed. We have long used BTU Meters in our industry as an easy way to illustrate window film’s performance to a consumer. An Infrared heat lamp is placed in front of a BTU meter and a measurement is then noted. Next a piece of window film is placed between the meter and the lamp and WOW! The meter almost bottoms out to zero. What just happened?

Before I address that question let me just say that this type of demonstration does have its place in a sales presentation. The heat lamp demonstration is a way to allow a consumer to “feel” the difference between a filmed and unfilmed piece of glass. I agree that this is a good way to demonstrate that window film works and that it is a viable way to increase the performance of glass. Here is the part that I take issue with; Improperly trained sales persons will use this IR lamp demonstration and compare the BTU measurement between different window films. The way that they present the results leads a consumer to conclude that one film’s superior BTU reading means that it overall outperforms the other films that it is being compared too. Note the following demonstration found on You Tube: [Update See Why This Video Is Unavailable] [Another Example Can Be Found Here]

In my opinion this is a deceptive practice. What you are seeing is a lamp that throws out over 90% of it’s energy as infra red radiation and a meter that is designed to measure the amount of infrared that it is being bombarded with. There is no way to account for the energy in the Visible Light Spectrum which makes up a sizable portion of the total solar energy because Infrared Light Bulbs are not designed to produce visible light. Remember too, in a previous blog we established that IR rejection does not translate to overall film performance. Nonetheless, let’s break this demonstration down by asking ourselves some questions.

What wavelength does this meter sample at? Well a little research shows that it is between 900-1050nm. Is this the entire Solar Spectrum that is being sampled? No, the solar spectrum starts at around 300nm and extends past 2500nm.* It becomes clear that BTU meters like the one in the demonstration are not capable of measuring total solar performance past 1050nm.

What wavelengths of the IR spectrum is the film rejecting energy? Some films are designed to reject IR at 900-1000nm. You can find these references as footnotes added to IR rejection specifications. If you refer back to the solar spectrum chart in our previous blog you will see that this particular wavelength range is one of the lowest intensity areas in the IR spectrum. That just so happens to be where beam splitters sample IR rejection (950nm) and it is also part of the “sweet spot” that some BTU meters sample at. So if a particular film performs best at that specific wavelength then it is naturally going to produce a better reading on a BTU meter than other films, but this does not necessarily mean that its overall energy rejection will be better. Why? As we have established, Total Solar Energy Rejection is an entirely different, and more accurate, measurement that IR rejection. Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER) and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) are total performance measurements that take in the entire solar spectrum rather than select wavelengths. Due to the publishing of single region measurements that can be marketed to resemble total performance, such as IR rejection, the International Window Film Association went so far as to publish a clarification on the difference between IR rejection and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measurements. SHGC measurements can be used to accurately compare the total performance of one window film to another whereas single region measurements cannot.

Therefore to imply that BTU readings are an accurate test to determine overall performance from one film to the next has no basis according to the facts. It is a deceptive sales presentation to say the least and in my opinion it should cease to be used in this manner. Third party performance testing by a reputable organization such as the NFRC is a much more accurate and reliable way to gather and publish data so that you can compare the performance of one window film to the next. Ask your sales professional to provide you with NFRC test results rather than hyped up marketing demonstrations designed to capitalize on a consumers lack of understanding.

-vc

*ASHRAE 2005 Handbook Fundamentals– 31.14

Comparing Apples to Apples: -How to Find the Bad Apple in the Bunch

apples

Did you know that there are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples? How many can you name?

The choices are staggering when you think about it. It should be noted however, that each variety can vary in size, color, shape, and taste. If you were to search for your favorite variety, comparing apples to apples can be a daunting task. Similarly, there are a lot of different window films on the market today. They come in all colors, sizes, and technologies. Each brand seems to tout that they are the best apple. How does a consumer determine this?

To make matters worse, how do you identify the proverbial “bad apple?” You know that apple that looks good on the outside but once you bite into it, yikes! The window film industry, to its discredit, does have a few bad apples out there amongst many good ones. Knowing this fact, a window film professional should feel a sort of moral responsibility to educate and inform the consumer so that they can identify the bad apples from the good ones. When a consumer is empowered with the right knowledge, they are in a better position to identify good value, and to make an informed decision that will most likely result in their satisfaction.

What to look for in a Good Window Film Dealer -How About Accuracy!

It all starts here. You deserve to have the best! However, you are not guaranteed that every window film dealer and the product that he or she is trying to sell to you is the best. You have to sort out the bad apples. Here is one of the latest tools in the industry to help YOU avoid choosing the wrong window film professional, and in turn, the wrong window film.

NFRC

NFRC Ratings: The National Fenestration Ratings Council© is a non-profit organization that administers the only uniform, independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights, attachment products, and Window Films. Their goal is to provide fair, accurate, and reliable energy performance ratings so that you can compare apples to apples. Protect yourself for deceptive marketing tactics by asking your window film professional if they sell NFRC Certified Products.

Here is an example of how you can be deceived:

In a previous blog our vigilant friends at Advanced Film Solutions uncovered a strategy employed by a dealer of one of the largest names in Window Film. We can only imagine that the dealer was trained by his manufacturer, so sadly, these practices could be quite possibly exist nationwide even worldwide. This dealer claims that competing manufacturers are deceiving consumers by posting product performance specifications for only one type of glass. He even uses an old outdated specification card to try and prove his point. Is this true?

It could be construed that way if an explanation is not given. However, as you will come to appreciate it is not deceptive; for there has always been a reason for this industry practice. You will also come to appreciate that this is a claim based not on the most current industry developments and changes.

Just as there are many varieties of apples there are also many glass combinations. Depending on where you live, the most common glass combination may be either single pane or perhaps dual pane (IG) glass. It may be coated, tinted, filled with gas such as argon, or it may be simply clear glass. Due to this fact, it would be impossible to list performance specifications for every possible glass combination. And to make matters even more confusing, what if one window film manufacturer chose to publish their product’s specifications on 1/8″ single pane glass and another manufacturer chose to publish theirs on ¼”dual pane glass, and then a third manufacturer goes and decides to publish their film’s performance specifications on dual pane low E glass.

How is a consumer to compare apples to apples and find out how one film compares to the next when the testing surfaces are not equal? Insane! So, what the window film industry did (as a whole) was to publish their performance specifications on 1/8″ clear glass as the default testing surface.

Most manufacturers publish these results so that a consumer can easily compare the performance of one product as compared to another. This is a simple solution as compared to listing every glass combination possible and this has been the window film industry’s standard for many years now. Deceptive? No!

Could there be a better way to bring accurate and relative data to the consumer?

Yes indeed!

So in comes the latest industry development.

Due to the above mentioned challenges, the International Window Film Association (IWFA) along with certain window film manufacturers who saw the need for industry change, all have been working hard with the Nation Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) to have this US Department of Energy (DOE) recognized institution independently provide a standardized way of measuring the performance of window films so that you the consumer will not have to worry about being misinformed.

This milestone accomplishment has arrived!

mini NFRC label

You can find a list of NFRC Certified Films right here. All of the films listed have been tested using NFRC strict standards, the same standards that are used in rating the performance of windows. NFRC Certified Products are not just recognized by the DOE but they also qualify for the DOE’s Energy Star® program.

Non-certified films do not qualify no matter how prestigious their dealers make them out to be. Additionally, you will now start seeing on all boxes, literature, and specification cards, the official NFRC Label that will list the product’s performance specifications. These labels assure the consumer that they are purchasing a genuine NFRC Certified and Rated product rather than a product that could possibly have an unsubstantiated performance measurement.

You can now see that this particular dealer’s claim of deception and inaccuracy is an inaccurate and outdated claim in itself. Inaccuracy is a sign of a bad apple, buyer beware!

If this or any other dealer is talking only in half-truths and citing outdated materials then what else is he or she not fully explaining to you? If this claim is thus outdated then it makes you wonder if the films that this company sells are NFRC Certified? You can always check for yourself right here. Our hope is that all window film manufacturers apply for NFRC Certification of their products. It truly benefits us all in many ways.

This latest accomplishment prevents so many slanted marketing tactics such as on-angle measurements, IR rejection percentages mistakenly perceived as total heat rejection, and so forth. It increases the credibility for the manufacturer by showing that they went the extra mile to verify the energy performance of their products. This creates a level playing field for manufacturers no matter how large or how small they may be, they can now show their products’ energy performance ratings in a standardized way that is reliable and well-recognized.

The power is in your hands to make sure that the window film professional you choose has partnered with companies that have taken this most important step to help you reliably compare apples to apples.