The U.S. Department of Energy recently installed 80,000 square feet of solar safety film at its James Forrestal building in Washington, D.C. The film, Solar Gard 8 Mil Silver 35, covers 4,000 panes of glass in the structure.

The film reduces heat and glare, increasing worker comfort and reducing the amount of energy needed to keep the building cool. It also insulates the windows, resulting in less energy lost during winter months.

The product protects against glass-related injuries by holding broken glass in place during severe weather, bomb blasts, break-ins or other events that may cause glass breakage.

According to the manufacturer, the 8 Mil product blocks 55 percent of total solar energy, and can cut air conditioning bills up to 30 percent. In government and commercial buildings, window film reduces the HVAC load and can help reduce the use of cooling systems.

The product is optically clear, does not affect the appearance of a building inside or out, and allows natural sunlight through the windows. But, the film blocks 99 percent of UV rays and offers UV protection, so valuables such as window displays, artwork, carpets and furnishings are protected from UV damage and fading. For LEED certification, window film can be applied toward six credit categories.

Other government buildings that have solar safety film include the Salt Lake City International Airport, the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of Labor, and Liberty Elementary School in Chesterton, Ind.

San Diego-based Bekaert Specialty Films LLC makes Solar Gard window films in the U.S.