Window Tint Pricing and Payback

Great signs for window film getting through to a broader audience in this article about a students pursuing a MBA at Climate Corps is evaluating installing window film.

Well, we’re MBA students, so that’s a start. But the bigger issue is that window film is expensive: I have seen estimates ranging from $3 to $12 per square foot (PG&E [PDF] does a good job of providing some ranges).

This can stall the conversation in leased buildings where the tenant pays the energy bills. In long lease situations, this may not be a problem: 3M says it generally takes two to six years for the energy savings to pay back the initial investment. However, in situations like mine where there is uncertainty over how long the company will remain in the building and where there are a lot of windows, the return on investment will be critical.

Tintcenter comment:

$12 is too high for window tint.  I know people think that they are buying a premium window film for this price, and indeed they are; however, the difference between performance between a $12 and a quality $4 film is only 10-15%.  Whereas the price difference is 200%.  Is this worth the cost?

Correspondingly, the payback period lengthens to 6 years when a $12 film is installed due to the high cost of the film.  TintCenter continues to recommend buying efficiently priced quality home tint and keeping the payback period around 2-3 years after installation.

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