Solar Window Film Can Help Keep HVAC Systems Running as They Strain Under COVID-19 Ventilation Modifications

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COVID-19 has drastically affected our lives, our businesses, and the way we work and interact with others. As things begin to reopen, many building managers work to figure out how to safely return workers and others. Not surprisingly, a lot more changes lie ahead due to COVID-19.

The way indoor air is ventilated is going to change. Buildings must have increased levels of fresh outdoor air if they follow the advice of health experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the amount of outdoor air in buildings increases to as much as 100 percent. In contrast, buildings recirculated about 85 percent of its heated and cooled air and utilized only 15 percent fresh air prior to COVID-19.

Improving the quality of HVAC filters is another expected change. Filters need to catch smaller particles. This prevents them from recirculating in the air. Modifying HVAC units to raise indoor humidity levels is another. Higher humidity levels may deter the virus. These are just a few of the recommended changes for ventilating indoor air.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issued a position document outlining a long list of HVAC strategies for reducing the spread of disease in April. ASHRAE said, “Managing indoor air to control distribution of infectious aerosols is an effective intervention which adds another strategy to medical treatments and behavioral interventions in disease prevention.”

COVID-19 & Indoor Air

The fact that pathogens, even the common flu, spread easily via ventilation systems in modern buildings has been accepted for some time. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns over how viruses spread indoors are understandably heightened.

Many experts believe the coronavirus spreads easily between people in confined indoor spaces. This is especially true when they’re in close proximity and breathing the same air. In fact, one Asian study showed only one COVID-19 case contracted outdoors from a 7,000-plus sample size.

A real example of how a ventilation system spread the disease at a Chinese restaurant supported this as well. Air from an air conditioning unit behind the person infected with COVID-19 allegedly spread the disease across the room. Restaurant goers at other tables later became ill with COVID-19.

Heating and cooling larger volumes of outdoor air will likely become a new standard, even after things return to “normal.” Going forward, HVAC systems will have to work harder too, especially in the hottest and coldest months. This inevitably translates to higher HVAC repair costs, more discomfort and disruptions to those in buildings, and higher energy costs.

Solar Window Film Reduces Energy Costs and HVAC Wear and Tear

Solar window film is a solution capable of offsetting higher energy costs in commercial buildings. It also works to reduce strain on overworked HVAC systems trying to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.

Solar window films reduce the solar heat (the visible light we see and the infrared light we feel) and UV rays that enter buildings through windows. This helps keep buildings cooler in the warmer months.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says that window film is also effective in reducing energy bills due to its insulative properties. The DOE reports that as much as 35% of the energy lost in buildings escapes through glass windows.

Solar window film insulates windows to effectively keep radiant heat inside in the winter and cool air inside during summer. This reduces strain on heating and cooling systems. It also lowers energy bills while reducing hot and cold spots around windows and glass doors for improved indoor comfort year-round.

Building owners investing in professionally-installed solar window film should see immediate energy savings. These savings amount to approximately $1-2 per square foot of film installed, reports the DOE, or as much as $19 kWh per square foot of glass. It only takes about three years to reap a return on investment.

Learn More About Solar Window Film

ESP Window Tinting & Graphics has been Louisville’s premier window tinting and custom graphics provider since 1974. We serve both the residential and commercial markets, providing customized solutions with the goal of delighting our clients. Our window film and graphics products offer enhanced aesthetics and improved functionality to your spaces. Contact us today for a free consultation and quote.