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Misconceptions Around Low-E Windows & Fading: Everything You Need to Know


Overestimating Low-E window performance without UV-rejection ratings from the manufacturer is a terrible mistake.

Do you have Low-E windows and are experiencing fading? We can help. Over the last two decades, we have been in thousands of client homes, offices, and businesses with faded floors, furnishings, artwork, and inventory. Many of them were told their Low-E windows would provide sufficient protection.


Let’s take a deeper look at why these clients were calling SOLARIS, what caused the fading, how low-e windows work, and how window film was the ideal solution to protect what they loved.


How Low-E Windows Work & Why They Won't Solve Your Fading Issues



 


What Causes Fading?


There are FOUR distinct reasons for faded furnishings. Our sun sends us a few different types of radiation, each playing its part in fading your favorite furnishings and decor. In general, exposure to unprotected sunlight causes fading, and the duration (length of the exposure) and intensity (closer to your windows) to the sun will determine the fading rate.




1: UV light: This is the main piece of the fading pie. Approximately 40% of fading damage is from UV radiation. UV comes in a range of rays, A, B & C.

  1. The ozone layer stops the UVC wavelengths.

  2. Glass stops UVB wavelengths (these are the ones that give you a sunburn.)

  3. UVA is tricky and slides through the glass, penetrating deep into anywhere you can see the light. Stopping UV rays, particularly the UVA, is the most important factor for fade reduction and skin health.


2: Visible light: This is the solar energy we can see. If an area has light, everything is getting a dose of radiation. This represents about 25% of fading damage. Anything in direct sunlight is more susceptible to fading due to visible light. Visible light waves are lower energy compared to UV, so exposure (or time) is an additional, significant contributor to fading.


3: Heat/Infrared: We refer to this as "IR," and the sun can cook, bake, melt, and otherwise deteriorate your furnishings with heat energy. Our eyes can’t see heat energy, but we can feel it. Darker colors hang on to this energy which degrades and fades at a faster rate than lighter colors. IR wavelengths are also longer and have lower energy than visible light, so direct exposure is needed to cause fading.


4: Miscellaneous: Interior lighting, dye anchorage to the substrate, humidity, cleaners, etc., make up about 10% of fading. As a general rule, natural fibers will fade faster than synthetics; and darker colors will fade faster than light ones.




 



How Low-e Windows Work and Why They Won’t Solve Your Fading Issues.


Low-E has become a blanket term describing thousands of product types and combinations. There is a WIDE range of performance available with Low-E windows, but UV performance is where numbers start to become uniquely significant.




Low-E stands for low emissivity, a measure of a surface’s ability to absorb or emit thermal radiation.


Low-E glass coatings help to reflect heat back into your home, office, or business. These coatings can also stop the transmission of solar energy into the home, depending on the type of coating and which surface(s) have the coating.


Low-E has become a blanket term describing thousands of product types and combinations. There is a WIDE range of performance available with Low-E windows, and they generally perform higher in terms of energy efficiency, particularly by keeping the heat in during winter.


UV performance is where numbers start to become uniquely significant. The majority of windows we've tested in the field have a 25-45% UV rejecting range. Better than nothing? Or course, but not enough to prevent fading.


The window manufacturer should share UV rejection percentages, DO NOT ASSUME you are protected.



 


Where Window Film Comes Into Play.


There is no other product on the market today that can provide the level of fade protection - without losing your view - than window film.



There is no other product on the market today that can provide the level of fade protection - without losing your view - than window film. Full stop.


Modern window films have UV absorbers in the base polyester and adhesive that rejects up to 99.9% UV radiation, drastically reducing fading.


Window film can also block visible light (darker tinted films) and heat, providing incredible protection for your furnishings. The added control of glare and heat will improve comfort while allowing you to enjoy those sun-filled rooms room without concern for your furnishings.


We've helped many clients find peace of mind with an application of window film in combination with their current Low-E windows. If you're unsure what type of windows you have and are concerned about fading, let us provide an on-site UV assessment to resolve your window performance needs. Head here to schedule an appointment.

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