Promoting and protecting the rights and lifestyles
of unit-owners in Queensland since 1978
At the mention of window film technology (window tints) many readers will think of flaking mirror tints they have seen on ageing commercial premises or tinting on vehicle windows. However, window film technology has come a long way since its introduction decades ago and can be successfully used in many innovative ways. In fact many will often view window designs and not realise what they are seeing is installed window film technology.
For bodies corporate, window film treatment offers the possibility of a relatively low cost energy efficiency measure when the alternatives like external blinds or fixed louvres are cost prohibitive or impractical for multi level apartments. By way of a crude estimate window film treatment might cost in the range of $100 to $140 average per window. Window film treatment might be installed for as little as say a $1000 in a two bedroom apartment. The Window Film Association Of Australia and New Zealand on its web page quotes an indicative cost of $100 to $250 per square meter installed.
Hot summer months and household energy bills nearly doubling in the last 5 years, lot of unit owners may find window film treatments delivering both an energy efficiency measure and increased personal comfort.
Window film treatments can greatly reduce the amount of heat transmitted through window glass by reflecting some of the heat back to the outside of the building, while still letting in natural light and not obstructing your outlook. Some window film manufacturers claim to reflect up to 80% of the heat coming through the windows, but films likely to be suitable in a body corporate situation will probably reflect 50% to 60% of the heat otherwise transmitted into your home through the windows. For the layperson, the science of this gets confusing because every case can be different, but the 50 to 60% heat reflect probably transmits to a reduction in room temperature from anywhere between 1 to 3 ºC. This might be the difference in making a room liveable and depending on your habits, this in turn might result in savings of up to 30% on air conditioning energy costs.
There are other benefits to installing window film, such as
a) glare is reduced, making using computing equipment and watching television more comfortable, and
b) usually around 99% of ultra violet light is rejected, reducing fading on floorings, paintings and other household items.
Many lot owners might dismiss the possibility of window tinting due to perceptions about its visual impact and the complexities of by-laws concerning the external appearance of the building. Most installers will have what they call their 'Body Corporate grade' window film. These films will be imperceptible to the the casual passer by.
Getting your committee on board is a first important step. Often the best way to achieve this is to see if your installer will do a presentation to your committee, show sample window films and be available to answer questions. You should also be aware that the Building Act 1975 (QLD) specifically addresses window film technology in regard to ‘provisions to support sustainable housing’. This indicates that for class 1a buildings (usually townhouses) and class 2 buildings (usually residential apartments) a committee or body corporate cannot withhold consent to window film treatment if it;
This provision seems to have two consequences;
(a) A committee or a Chair at a general meeting cannot rule out of order a request to install window film on the grounds it breaches an Appearance by-law as there is legislative provision that contemplates such installation.
(b) If a low visual impact window film is selected for use, and therefore minimising the external appearance impact, it would seem in most cases very difficult for a Body Corporate to reasonably decline such a request.
Nevertheless, building a community consensus around this issue is very important and the consequences of any such request might be for the Body Corporate doing the background work to select a window film that is generally acceptable to the community. It should be highlighted that there a quite a few brands of window film in varying grades available in Queensland. This translates to differing performance outcomes and widely differing pricing. As always, the more research and the more quotes you get the better position you will be in to make an informed decision.
The Queensland Department of Housing and Public works has issued a fact sheet covering some of these issues. In regard to window treatments their comments are potentially confusing. However the material does give clues to possible road blocks to installing window film treatments and therefore considerations to readdressed by those proposing to install window film treatments.
The industry is not a large one. Installers in your area often have useful information on their web pages. Similarly, the major window film brands often have useful data on their web pages and sometimes case studies. Major brands include; 3M, Panorama, Llumar, Solar Gard, Solar Master, SunTrek and Vista.