Re-posted- Originally submitted June 4, 2008. The information remains relevant six years later.
The following is a “Guest Blog” Entry from my respected associate VClimber .
VClimber is well known on the very informative Tintdude web site where his knowledge concerning all aspects of this window film business is legendary. He prefers to remain anonymous throughout his communications and since that is his preference, that’s “good enough” for me!
His text is as follows:
Did you know that there are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples?
How many can you name?
The choices are staggering when you think about it. It should be noted however, that each variety can vary in size, color, shape, and taste. If you were to search for your favorite variety, comparing apples to apples can be a daunting task.
Similarly, there are a lot of different window films on the market today. They come in all colors, sizes, and technologies. Each brand seems to tout that they are the best apple. How does a consumer determine this?
To make matters worse, how do you identify the proverbial “bad apple?” You know that apple that looks good on the outside but once you bite into it, yikes!
The window film industry, to its discredit, does have a few bad apples out there amongst many good ones. Knowing this fact, a window film professional should feel a sort of moral responsibility to educate and inform the consumer so that they can identify the bad apples for the good ones. When a consumer is empowered with the right knowledge, they are in a better position to identify good value, and to make an informed decision that will most likely result in their satisfaction.
What to look for in a Good Window Film Dealer -How About Accuracy!
It all starts here.
You deserve to have the best! However, you are not guaranteed that every window film dealer and the product that he or she is trying to sell to you is the best. You have to sort out the bad apples. Here is one of the latest tools in the industry to help YOU avoid choosing the wrong window film professional and in turn, the wrong window film.
NFRC Ratings: The National Fenestration Ratings Council© is anon-profit organization that administers the only uniform,independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows,doors, skylights, attachment products, and Window Films.
Their goal is to provide fair, accurate, and reliable energy
performance ratings so that you can compare apples to apples. Protect yourself for deceptive marketing tactics by asking your window film professional if they sell NFRC Certified Products.
Here is an example of how you can be deceived:
In a previous blog our vigilant friends at Advanced Film Solutions uncovered a strategy employed by a dealer of one of the largest names in Window Film.
We can only imagine that the dealer was trained by his manufacturer, so sadly, these practices could be quite possibly be nationwide even worldwide. This dealer claims that competing manufacturers are deceiving consumers by posting product performance specifications for only one type of glass. He even uses an old outdated specification card to try and prove his point.
Is this true?
It could be construed that way if an explanation is not given.
However, as you will come to appreciate it is not deceptive; for
there has always been a reason for this industry practice. You will also come to appreciate that this is a claim based not on the most current industry developments and changes.
There are almost as many glass combinations as there are varieties of apples.
Depending on where you live, the most common glass combination may be either single pane or perhaps dual pane(IG) glass. It may be coated, tinted, filled with gas such as argon, or it maybe simply clear glass.
Due to this fact, it would be impossible to list performance
specifications for every possible glass combination. And to make matters even more confusing, what if one window film manufacturer chose to publish their product’s specifications on 1/8″ single pane glass and another manufacturer chose to publish theirs on ¼”dual pane glass, and then a third manufacturer goes and decides to publish their film’s performance specifications on dual pane low E glass.
How is a consumer to compare apples to apples and find out how one film compares to the next when the testing surfaces are not equal?Insane! So, what the window film industry did (as a whole) was to publish their performance specifications on 1/8″ clear glass as the default testing surface.
Most manufacturers publish these results so that a consumer can easily compare the performance of one product as compared to another. This is a simple solution as compared to listing every glass
combination possible and this has been the window film industry’s
standard for many years now. Deceptive? No!
Could there be a better way to bring accurate and relative data to the consumer?
So in comes the latest industry development.
Due to the above mentioned challenges, the International Window Film Association (IWFA)along with certain window film manufacturers who saw the need for industry change, all have been working hard with the Nation Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) to have this US Department of Energy (DOE) recognized institution independently provide a standardized way of measuring the
performance of window films so that you the consumer will not have to worry about being misinformed.
This milestone accomplishment has arrived!
You can find a list of NFRC Certified Films right here.
All of the films listed have been tested using NFRC strict standards, the same standards that are used in rating the performance of windows.
NFRC Certified Products are not just recognized by the DOE but they also qualify for the DOE’s Energy Star® program.
Non-certified films do not qualify no matter how prestigious their dealers make them out to be.
Additionally, you will now start seeing on all boxes,literature, and specification cards, the official NFRC Label that will list the product’s performance specifications.
These labels assure the consumer that they are purchasing a genuine NFRC Certified and Rated product rather than a product that could possibly have an unsubstantiated performance measurement.
You can now see that this particular dealer’s claim of deception and inaccuracy is an inaccurate and outdated claim in itself. Inaccuracy is a sign of a bad apple, buyer beware!
If this or any other dealer is talking only in half-truths and citing outdated materials then what else is he or she not fully explaining to you? If this claim is thus outdated then it makes you wonder if the films that this company sells are NFRC Certified?
You can always check for yourself right here. Our hope is that all window film manufacturers apply for NFRC Certification of their products. It truly benefits us all in many ways.
This latest accomplishment prevents so many slanted marketing tactics such as on-angle measurements, IR rejection percentages mistakenly perceived as total heat rejection, and so forth. It increases the credibility for the manufacturer by showing that they went the extra mile to verify the energy performance of their products. This creates a level playing field for manufacturers no matter how large or how small they may be, they can now show their products’ energy performance ratings in a standardized way that is reliable and well-recognized.
The power is in your hands to make sure that the window film professional you choose has partnered with companies that have taken this most important step to help you reliably compare apples to apples.
Many thanks to my host Mike Feldman for allowing me to guest blog. Perhaps, I could explain in a future article another claim that is used to make you think that you have found the best apple in the bunch. Stay tuned and stay informed