It’s hard to beat the beauty and aesthetics of a glass-enclosed pool or waterpark. Natural light and the ability to see the outdoors makes for a more enjoyable aquatic experience for everyone.
experience comes at a price. According to the California Energy
Commission, 30 percent of the cooling requirements of a
glass-enclosed pool is caused by heat entering through the
at the glass with solar-control glass or applied window film is the
best solution. However, solar-control glass often exceeds the cost
of standard glass to which a solar control film is later
why for new construction and all existing glass-enclosed
facilities, applied window film typically is the least expensive
and preferred option.
But not all
window films are created equal. Conventional window films
successfully block a significant amount of solar heat. What’s
more, most of these films have a mirrorlike appearance from the
outside. In artificial light and at night, they also can appear
The result is
darkened pool interiors and a reduced ability to see into and out
of the water. This can lead to higher utility costs, which defeats
the major benefit of the film cost savings.
where clear, spectrally selective window film comes
refers to the ability of the film to select, or let in, desirable
daylight while blocking out undesirable heat. It offers the best
ratio of visible light transmission to heat rejection. (For a chart
on how applying the different types of film can affect the window,
how the spectrally selective films compare with conventional
selective film, which blocks the same amount of heat as many of the
darkest films, ideally transmits 70 percent of the visible light
and, in so doing, possesses a clear appearance. Conventional films
transmit less than 34 percent of visible light, according to
manufacturers’ own data.
Conventional and spectrally selective films can be applied to
single-pane and insulating fixed glass, windows and doors, as well
as laminated glass. Always identify existing glass and follow the
advice of a qualified film installer.
The price of tinted and reflective window film ranges from $4 to $6
per installed square foot. Depending on the particulars of the
installation and the geographical area, the best spectrally
selective applied window film ranges in price from approximately $9
to $12 a square foot installed.
Less expensive conventional window films have a shorter payback.
However, given the cost of extra energy used for lighting and air
conditioning due to its inability to transmit sufficient light, the
payback for conventional film and spectrally selective film becomes
comparable. Given rising electricity rates (with no end in sight),
the rate of payback for spectrally selective film is always
improving — averaging less than four years.
cities have rebate programs. In Los Angeles, for example, the
Department of Water and Power gives conventional films a rebate of
55 cents per square foot. A spectrally selective film receives an
85-cents-per-square-foot rebate. Only spectrally selective films
with luminous efficiency constants over 1.0 receive the higher
The best applied films are guaranteed not to peel, discolor,
blister, bubble or demetalize. Always look for a guarantee from the
manufacturer in addition to any offered by the installer.