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Old 07-13-2010, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Here and there, you decide.
11,934 posts, read 23,424,847 times
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Which is better? solar screens or window tint? any advice on who to use and/or how much they cost..

my house sits directly east and west... mornings aren't terrible (east), the afternoons are brutal (west)...

I do admit though, i think the screens look terrible.. however according to Nevada Energy's calculator, all my money is going to cooling...

thanks in advance
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,465,719 times
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I've never lived with solar screens but I can tell you they are VERY widely used in Tucson. I see them everywhere in the suburbs here. I put the do-it-yourself tint (from Lowe's) on my worst windows. It was more difficult than they tout it to be -- definitely a two person job. I don't notice any difference in my electric bill, but the glare is cut down. When I added insulated drapes to the bay window in the master bedroom, that room did feel cooler in the morning as a result.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:03 AM
 
2,038 posts, read 3,730,805 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airics View Post
Which is better? solar screens or window tint? any advice on who to use and/or how much they cost..

my house sits directly east and west... mornings aren't terrible (east), the afternoons are brutal (west)...

I do admit though, i think the screens look terrible.. however according to Nevada Energy's calculator, all my money is going to cooling...

thanks in advance
NV energy's calculator won't stray much for anyone this time of year.

I have a low-e window system and llumar tint on all of my windows. I recall the cost was around $1200 installed for very large windows back in 2001. I noticed a moderate difference after installing the window film. I think the main advantage is UV ray protection over some sort of negligible R value.

I think the net effect of the film is mitigated due to the fact I have no other window coverings in my living areas.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:46 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
784 posts, read 1,542,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airics View Post
I do admit though, i think the screens look terrible..
I went with tint for this very reason. You probably will regret installing screens down the road if you think they look bad now.
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:28 AM
 
Location: Here and there, you decide.
11,934 posts, read 23,424,847 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trash Can View Post
I went with tint for this very reason. You probably will regret installing screens down the road if you think they look bad now.
but is there an r-factor with the tint or just protecting against uv rays...
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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Shutters out of the question? They look good at least imo
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:06 PM
jpk
 
Location: Redmond, WA / Henderson, NV
531 posts, read 1,639,334 times
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I did shutters on the downstairs windows and window film upstairs. I am probably someday going to add window film downstairs as I'm pretty happy with the amount of heat it blocks. I'd like to be able to leave the shutters wide open some days and not have the house turn into a sauna.

Be sure to look at what type of film you are getting, different types block different forms of light. Some are just for UV, others for IR, heat, etc. You will also have a tradeoff in visibility vs. heat rejection so you may use different types for diffferent rooms. They also range in price, I was surprised how expensive it could get for the best film.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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you could also try solar shades, which are installed on the inside of the windows similar to other window treatments. some come with patterns, others don't. but they allow you to maintain your view, while cutting down on the light/heat that gets in.

i have low e windows with solar shades:

half bath-


kitchen in evening/night (1st pic) versus daytime (2nd pic)-

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Old 07-14-2010, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
784 posts, read 1,542,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airics View Post
but is there an r-factor with the tint or just protecting against uv rays...
Depending on the film, you can get quite a bit of both UV and heat rejection.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,683 posts, read 8,288,899 times
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My gut feel is that the solar screens are going to provide more energy savings, but that is just an educated guess, I have no data to back it up.

SHGC of a really good window film, like Huper Optik ceramic (probably way more expensive than most people would use) is in the upper thirties (percent). A solar screen is going to physically block either 80 or 90% of sunlight from ever striking your window (commonly used Suntex 80 and 90 screens used by solar screen installers in LV). So a first approximation of the SHGC of Suntex 80 is 20%. That already beats a good window film. The SHGC of window film is going to be worse because it's bearing the brunt of all that unfiltered sunlight, and even if it's blocking a lot of IR, it's going to absorb some of it, heat up, and then transmit that heat into the home via conduction through the window frame and glass.

My home office has a large west facing window with a solar screen built with Suntex 80 covering it. The window glass itself does not get uncomfortably hot to the touch in the afternoon. It's just barely warm right now. I can't say the same thing about the dark tinted windows in my car, though admittedly they aren't dual-pane with inert gas in the gap.

Other factors to consider are:

1) Solar screens degrade clarity much more than film
2) Some HOAs may have restrictions on film, though the restrictions are probably only on reflective film
3) Window film may void window mfgr warranties, though sometimes the film mfgr will have their own warranty (may require professional installation)
4) You can remove solar screens during the months when they aren't needed
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