SHADE SCREENS vs. WINDOW FILMS: A surprising evaluation

Infrared heat energy can either be absorbed or reflected. Once absorbed it changes from infrared heat to energy consuming convective or conductive heat. This is what happens when using a shade screen or wood shutters. Logic would assume that putting something outside the window would prevent the unwanted transfer of heat through the glass. This was logical enough to us that we purchased a shade screen company,framework, screens, fixtures, and all. The first installation was on my own home in Phoenix where I have two large 5'x5' West facing windows. I used the highest performing (densest screen) to address heat gain in my windows.

While using an infrared camera inside my home one day I happened to accidentally bump the camera. This moved the image to focus on my two front windows. A landscaper had knocked off one of the support brackets for one of the screens a week prior so one window had a shade screen and one did not. Much to my surprise, the window with the shade screen was significantly hotter! I thought there must be something wrong with the camera's calibration so I readjusted and focused the camera. However, further testing using a pocket thermometer from the outside illustrated a temperature of 134F between the screen and the glass. FACT: Shade screens, especially the high percentage black screens, act as solar ovens and will increase energy use.

You have two options:

1) Move the screen out away from the window using longer screws and bushings. This allows the trapped convective solar heated air to escape.

2) Install a quality window film on the inside of the glass. This keeps heat out during the summer, heat in during the winter, cuts out most of the UV and infrared heat and actually improves the view outside the window.

A reflective film changes the direction of the incoming infrared heat and therefore does not absorb it. The results are cooler rooms, a better view and NO maintenance.

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