Lifestyle

Let the Sunshine In

Let the Sunshine InSay “Car window film” and the first thing that pops into your head is what? Blacked-out Secret Service cars? Movie star-toting limos? Pimped-out lowriders? Whatever the case, window films of the non-automotive variety are starting to gain traction in residences for their ability to increase privacy (a bonus in a city where we live on top of each other) as well as comfort and, perhaps most importantly, reduce energy costs. The first thing to appear when browsing American window film manufacturer SunTek’s website is indeed cars, but the technology, now available in Hong Kong at Envirobuilding Solutions in Central, can be applied to any window you have.

One of the beauties of living in a city like Hong Kong — or Singapore, or San Diego or Rio de Janeiro — is the seemingly endless sunshine. But as much as most of us value natural daylight, and doctors stress we need regular exposure to it, there are times when it’s obvious the sun burns at about 5,500 degrees. SunTek’s Architectural Films, for residential and commercial buildings, are designed to reduce solar heat from getting in the room, something plain glass doesn’t do. The result is a reduction in wasted energy (it’s already cooler) and power consumption. At a time when more windows are being emphasised and encouraged on design and architectural levels in order to reduce our dependence on artificial lighting (and stress energy efficiency), something is going to be needed to prevent a “Turn up the A/C!” response.

“Hong Kong’s hot weather means that residents spend a lot of money keeping their homes cool,” explains Envirobuilding Solutions founder Winston Lam. “With the introduction of SunTek, the energy efficiency of a building can be improved and electricity bills can be reduced by up to 30 percent. It’s the perfect energy-saving aid in the cooling of any building.”

In addition to ensuring you do your part in slowing down catastrophic climate change (goodbye Galapagos tortoise, you’ll be missed), SunTek’s solar films offer 99 percent UV ray prevention. Sitting around the house in sun block isn’t really an issue, but it’s UV rays that cause colour fade and bleaching. Stop the UV and keep your upholstery, book covers, fine woods and carpet fabrics the colours they should be. And you’ll be able to watch television during the day due to the reduced glare.

Safety and Security Films are also available. Breaking and entering may not be an enormous concern in Hong Kong (unless Spider-Man goes dark side), but these films also protect against damage caused by typhoons and other violent storms. It may have been a while since a T8 swept through the SAR(or maybe not), but that doesn’t mean it won’t, and residents with a view often get the jitters during storm season. “During typhoon season in Hong Kong … residents with seafacing properties or large windows attempt to re-enforce these to prevent the shattering of glass. SunTek provides a professional solution for this to eliminate worries caused by stormy weather conditions,” Lam adds.

All of SunTek’s window films are designed to be aesthetically unobtrusive; they’re barely visible and super-thin — about .04 millimetres thick. The films are on the low side of reflective, so your view will be unaltered, and it won’t be darker inside. SunTek films start at $45 per square foot, a small price to pay to keep all those unsavoury elements at bay. Including the B&E Spider-Man