There may have been threats of 15-20 inches of snow in the Northeast last week, but that is no indication of the demand for high performance window film installations by the nation’s leaders in energy management films like Window Film Depot.
The economy has not tanked, buyers have found their bearing and well positioned operations are poised to take advantage of pent up demand. It’s clear that the advances across the window film industry have created a momentum that bodes well for consumers and dealers of these cool energy control film products. So, what’s been happening?
1. Awareness is increasing: Simply put, window film is no longer a product known to a select few. New sellers of the product like Home Depot, Lowes, Budget Blinds and JCPenney are helping bring architectural window films to the masses. To the Pro’s in the industry and those who sit back and take a cool-headed look at the dynamic, it’s clear that these new marketers of film products are helping by increasing the size of the pie. Savvy and knowledgeable dealers are taking advantage.
Government tax incentives for film installation for residences, utility rebates that help offset commercial installation costs and recent work by the IWFA to make public the benefits of solar control products are helping marinate the market to the upside for window film installation.
2. Efficiency is the winning bet: With Solyndra and dozens of other negative stories circulating about renewables here in the US, the public appetite for this side of the ‘energy’ coin has waned. Window film solutions are on the right side of the energy story. Flip the coin over and you’ve got ‘conservation’. Once a feel-good term associated with environmental types, today there’s serious money in saving money through conservation. ESCO’s and other ‘bundelers’ of efficiency measures are today regularly adding window films installation to their solution set they recommend to building owners looking to reduce energy costs, improve comfort, attain LEED accreditation or attract socially conscious tenants.
3. Film technology has advanced: ‘Dark and Shiny’ have left the building. Today’s films are advanced technology – and getting better each season. The trend continues to be lighter (near invisible) films that reduce heat gain by blocking IR energy through a window yet allowing the visible light spectrum to pass through glass. Architects are taking notice and spec’ing these window films like never before on on both new and renovation projects. Impressive new exterior film products give architects and glaziers new ways to approach the problem of heat gain where insulated glass is a concern. (We still offer ‘dark and shiny’ – they do the job, but the new films are responsible for getting the industry on a bigger radar)
4. Window Film is no longer a ‘black sheep’: See ‘dark and shiny’ above. Oh yeah, films come in handy when the wrong glass is spec’d and safety issues prevelent in the post 9-11 era have created a need to secure glass in sensitive buildings across the country.
5. Dealers and industry members are marketing better: Window film dealers do not have a strong historical record at marketing their products and services. It’s ironic given how passionate the people are who are in this industry (and how much they like to talk about window tinting). That’s changing. We’re starting to see a new breed of dealer leveraging technology, SEM and Social media more effectively than ever before. ‘Viral’ videos are just the tip of the iceberg for targeted marketing campaigns.
Approved presentations to be shown during ‘lunch-and-learns’ for Architects and USGBC groups are now available and offer continuing ed credits, further incentivizing these important influencers to learn about our products and services.
Winning case studies and quality third party validations are the best methods at helping expand the awareness and acceptance of window film as a top-tier product for efficiency upgrades. That’s where the responsibility of the dealer comes in most poingnantly.
By making sure the appropriate film technology is chosen for each custom installation, professional installers perform the application and that the necessary customer support is there on the backend when there are problens to fix will help to reinforce the virtuous loop we are currently enjoying. Success begets success.