Volume 13, Issue 3 - May/June 2009

Project Spotlight

The Allure of Film

Window film projects can span anywhere from a basic automotive installation, to a thirty-story high-rise building. For some dealers, the “big fish” might be a several-hundred-dollar tint job on a brand new Aston Martin (certainly worth an honorable mention). For others, it’s a large contract with a retail giant. On any particular day, a window film dealer or installer somewhere is beginning or wrapping up the project of a lifetime. The following is just one example we recently discovered:

The Dealer
CHB Industries, Smithtown, N.Y.
Founded in 1990
Locations in Chicago, Philadelphia and two in New York
30 Employees nationwide
Worldwide clientele

For most, going green is primarily about energy conservation (and therefore savings). But let’s face it, green also has a trendy side, which makes it attractive. Property owners and managers have caught on to this fact and at least one New York-based firm intends to use window film to promote energy conservation and savings.

L and L Holding Company owns a building currently undergoing a green retrofit at 600 Third Avenue, between 39th and 40th streets in Manhattan. The 50-story glass tower has 1,800 windows, totaling more than 43,000 square feet of glass. CHB Industries, a Smithtown, N.Y.-based dealer, had the pleasure of applying V-Kool’s V70 film to all 43,000 square feet. The company landed this project after providing a retrofit proposal aimed at energy conservation and other green attributes, restoring architectural integrity, aesthetics and mass appeal.

“The program that we proposed really serves a number of purposes,” explains Dan Venet, executive vice president and part owner of CHB Industries. Venet’s company put a great deal of thought into its proposal. CHB is a worldwide dealer. Part of the company’s strategy involves connecting with real estate companies and management firms, such as L and L Holding, to provide them with solutions aimed at effective building management. Effective management means providing features that tenants desire and need, which, in turn, keeps properties fully rented. According to Venet, window film can play a role in that process that spans well beyond energy savings.

“There were three or four points that were really important in this [project],” Venet explains. “The first is that we are restoring the building to its original architectural integrity by removing the tinted, reflective window film that was on the windows.” A hodge-podge of existing film, applied at various times throughout the building’s history, added an undesirable checkerboard appearance to the exterior. “It simply detracted from the original design intent,” Venet says. “By removing the reflective film and installing a clear solar film, we were ensuring a restoration of the building—architecturally. That, in turn, makes the building more attractive from the street.”

Show Me the Money
The second part of the equation—energy savings—will have a big payout for the building’s owner and tenants. The building manager estimates that the new film will save a minimum of $30,000 annually. In addition to decreasing tenants’ energy bills in the summer and winter, there are also side benefits that prospective tenants will recognize and find attractive, including day-lighting and environmental factors.

“We were also able to enhance the luminescence and the natural light coming into the building, offering prospective tenants brighter space and conditions, which are beneficial for doing work and for their offices,” Venet explains. “The VK-70 also has a shading coefficient of 0.50 and it thereby knocks out a little more than half of the solar heat. So there is the aspect of comfort and energy savings.”

Last, but not least, Venet says public perception also plays a role in green initiatives. And he feels that the necessity for appeasing the public’s appetite for energy conservation and change is increasingly important.

“There is also a message that’s sent, socially, that’s communicated to the tenants and to the community at large, by using something that knocks out solar heat but doesn’t require you to upgrade your interior lighting to offset the darkness of film,” he says. “You’re making a major contribution to the general national effort to become less dependent on foreign oil and to maximize the effective use of domestic energy.”

Venet says landing the big fish isn’t something CHB approaches on a case-by-case basis, as much as it’s a matter of philosophy and an ongoing strategy. The company has always offered a solution-based system of proposals, dating back to its roots in 1990. At that time, even just starting out, the company’s founder, Carol Borow who is currently president and also an owner, set her sites on big contracts and proposals. Based in New York, Borow recognized an opportunity in blast mitigation. Her first major client was the United Nations. The company’s largest project, based on capital, was three times that of 600 Third Ave. Now the company has offices in Chicago, one just outside of Philadelphia and two in New York.

Changing Strategies
In recent years, Venet says CHB began to speculate a migration from blast mitigation to energy savings among consumer interests and the company began gearing up for this change.

“This is a continuation of a program that we put in place a few years ago, anticipating a switch from security to encompass greater attention on energy conservation,” he explains. “We’ve done that with large projects, but also with residential homes in our area.”

Some of the company’s latest projects include buildings in the Middle East and one in Europe.

Another key to CHB’s success, according to Venet, is its client-based focus. Venet says he feels that some window film dealers let their loyalty to a certain product or manufacturer get in the way of good business decisions.

“We’re not selling a type of film, per se,” he says. “We’re really stepping outside the box and representing the property owners, by advising them on which film, regardless of manufacturer, is appropriate for their needs.” Venet says that focusing on and placing the needs of the client first builds loyalty and credibility. It also ensures long-lasting customer satisfaction, which, in turn, equals future business.

Venet says CHB also focuses on long-term relationships with independent contractors throughout the country. The company has 30 of its own employees nationwide and will call on outside contractors when necessary.

CHB’s evolving strategies have obviously served the company well. As of press time, L and L was planning similar initiatives with other of its buildings based on the results from 600 Third Ave. Not only does it make good economic sense, but L and L officials say the company intends to use window film to continue its track record of retaining long-term tenants, especially in a market of heightened pressures and competition. —DV

If you feel one of your current or recent projects is worthy of being placed in the Spotlight, send a few of the details to: dvass@glass.com. We would love to hear what you’re working on and to have the opportunity to consider the details for inclusion.

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