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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

Tinting: Not just for your car windows

Well, the summer of 2011 has gone on record as one of the hottest ever in our state. Just like many of you, we received the highest electric bill that we have ever received. Every month I try to teach you ways to keep your utility bills as low as possible. Remember that most energy efficiency tips are attempts to lower the heating and cooling costs of the house. As I am always looking for ways to help you do just that, I had the opportunity this summer to find another affordable tool for your energy efficiency arsenal. It is window tinting. I actually looked at window tinting years ago, but I didn’t like the fact that it seemed to have to be silver, gold, or really dark to work very well.

Both of our automobiles have tinted glass and I knew that they were more comfortable and better on the eyes than most of the rental cars that I had used where the glass was not tinted. So, it put me to thinking.

This past spring I was conducting a seminar for Ozarks Electric Cooperative in Fayetteville, Ark. After the meeting, a fellow asked me why I didn’t tell folks about the benefits of window tinting. I told him I really didn’t know that much about the subject and I had doubts about window tinting meeting all the claims that I had heard. He gave me a nice package of material from 3M, a well-known company. I told him I would read the material. I did and was impressed with the claims, but I remained cautious, as experience has taught me that many claims are just sales pitches. But I thought, 3M is a large and well-respected company, the warranty looks great, and if it performs anywhere near as good as it claims, I want to give it a try.

So I called a dear friend who performs energy audits on a daily basis and asked him to find a house that might benefit by installing window tinting. He found the perfect house. It was a 2,000-square-foot brick veneer house with eight-foot ceilings and about an equal number of windows on all sides of the house. The windows were single-hung aluminum with double-glazing and in good condition. The lady of the house said she couldn’t use the dining room on the really hot days because of the extreme heat coming through the west windows, and that she couldn’t enjoy her morning view of the mountains because of the heat through the east windows.

Let’s make the rest of the story short. I called the company and asked if they would do one house to prove that their product works as claimed. They said “yes.”

We met the crew at the house to measure the windows. It was 100 degrees at noon. The house thermostat was set on 75 degrees but the house stayed at 80 degrees. We met the next day to install tinting. It was 102 degrees at noon.

Tinting was installed on all windows. The temperature where the sun was hitting the carpet went down about 10 degrees. The house temperature went down about 5 degrees, which is huge on a hot summer day. The claim was that the tinting would reject 56 percent of the total solar energy, 97 percent of the infrared rays, and 99 percent of the UV rays, which practically eliminates fading. You could not tell by looking that there was tinting, but there was much less glare. I believe it passed the test. The house was more comfortable and as the lady of the house said, “I got my room and view back.” If your windows are still in good condition, this may be an affordable energy solution for you.

Another success story with 3M tinting recently took place during the 2010 Energy Efficiency Makeover sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. The home of Bill and Mary Quilhot of Gassville, Ark., won the grand prize and as part of the energy efficiency makeover, the couple’s prized picture window, which provides a view of their beautifully landscaped yard and nearby woods, was tinted. An infrared thermal imaging camera showed that the tinting reduced the heat gain inside the house by 15 percent. I hope this gives you yet another energy efficiency option for your home. And, as always, you may call me for more information at 501-653-7931.


Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.

For those who enjoy podcasts, you can simply visit the iTunes store and enter “Doug Rye’s Home Remedies” in the search window. You can listen to Doug anytime on your computer, iPod or smart phone.


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Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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