Window Film Term Glossary & Guide

Shopping for solar window films can be incredibly stressful. There are what feels like an overwhelming number of options to choose from and the language for those who aren’t in the industry can be confusing. That’s why we recommend giving a professional in the industry a call to assist you in making the best educated decision for your home or office. However, for those of you who like independent research we can provide you some tools to make your search a little easier. As experts in the industry with over 30 years of knowledge and experience, there’s no better company to trust when it comes to getting the right information. So let’s get started. 

The vocabulary for solar window films doesn’t have to seem like a foreign language to you. Allow us to provide you with this glossary to help you best understand the terminology you will come across while researching solar window film. Here’s some terms to know when shopping for film: 

Emissivity: Emissivity refers to the ability of the surface to reflect or absorb solar energy. The lower the rating is the better the insulation of a surface is. For instance, if window film has a lower emissivity then it allows less solar energy into a room than a film with higher emissivity. Lower emissivity ratings are ideal as they better protect your home or office from solar energy and heat gain. When shopping for solar films look for low E options.

Glare Reduction/Control: Glare occurs when visible light is reflected and introduced into your home or office onto a reflective surface such as a TV or computer. I’m sure you’ve encountered glare issues before. Solar window film offers glare control which is the percentage that visible light is reduced through the installation of solar window films. Installing films can help stop or reduce the glare you experience on surfaces. 

Glazing: Glazing is a term that we use when describing window film itself. The glazing refers to the film that is installed directly on the window pane. 

Infared Radiation: Infared radiation refers to invisible light or light we cannot see. This light can be felt as heat. This is the source of heat gain, an energy causing the temperature of objects or spaces to rise from solar energy. 

Shading Coefficient: Shading coefficient represents the amount of solar heat gain in a room passing through a window treated with solar window film versus a window untreated. A film with lower shading coefficient is considered more effective in reducing heat gain. This is what you want to search for when researching films.

 Solar Absorptance: Solar absorptance refers to the amount of solar energy absorbed, reflected or rejected by a glazing system. This includes the amount of solar energy transmitted by visible light, infared and ultraviolet light. As solar energy reaches a window the film will either absorb or reflected the solar energy to prevent heat gain in the room. The way the film reduces the energy depends on the manufacturer. Every product works a bit differently and this is where researching the manufacturer guidelines is a helpful tool to better understand how solar absorbance works for that product. 

Solar Energy: Solar energy is the energy transmitted by the sun that takes the forms of visible light, infared light and ultraviolet light. Each form of solar energy causes a different issue when it makes its way into your home or office. Visible light is responsible for problems light glare or brightness. Infared light is the main cause of heat gain or rising temperatures. Ultraviolet light also know as UV radiation poses risks of fading in fabrics and skin damage to people. Reducing the amount of solar energy entering a window is crucial in overall comfort.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: Heat gain is the amount of heat experienced in a room. SHGC is the total amount of solar energy or percentage that is redirected into a building. The lower the percentage, the better the product. For instance if film has a SHGC or 12% then that means the film is reducing heat gain or solar energy by nearly 88%. Remember with most of these terms, the lower the number the better the protection. 

Solar Transmittance: Solar transmittance is the percentage of solar energy that enters through a film notably expressed as a percentage as well. When sunlight enters a window the solar energy is either transmitted through, absorbed or reflected away from the glass window. Depending on the product, the transmittance results do vary. As we said before you always want to refer to a manufacturer’s film-to-glass recommendation and guidelines.

Total Solar Energy Rejected: The total solar energy rejected is the total amount of solar energy including visible, infared and UV radiation that is intercepted by the glazing system and prevented from entering a room. Unlike most percentages we have discussed, for TSER you want the highest percentage. The higher the percentage, the more solar energy is blocked by the glazing system which means the less that is finding its way into your home or office. 

Ultraviolet Light/Radiation: Ultraviolet light also known as UV radiation is an invisible light that is responsible for fading in fabrics, warping in woods and surfaces, and other damage to objects and belongings in your space. It’s also one of the leading causes of skin cancer in people and pets. UV radiation cannot be seen and therefore is a huge risk you do not want to worry about. Luckily most solar window films help prevent nearly 100% of UV radiation from getting through those windows. 

Visible Light: All forms of light fall on a light spectrum or a range of electromagnetic radiation. Visible light is a form of electromagnetic radiation we can see. When the sun is shining down through your windows and brightening up a room that is visible light. Visible light is most commonly spoken of in the solar window film industry when we discuss glare control. Visible light is responsible for glare or that blinding reflection we often encounter when watching TV. 

Now that you have a glossary to help get you through those confusing terms and translate the seemingly foreign language of window films, you’re on your way to researching available products. When you’re ready to get that free quote or you run into some questions, give your solar window film experts a call at 6237804950. Here at AZ Solar Control Glass Tinting we are ready to point you in the right direction and give you the facts that you’re looking for to make the best decision for your home or office. We look forward to your call.