Save Two Birds with One FilmSeptember 3rd, 2014 by Casey Flores
A growing number of consumers are purchasing specialty window film not only for its energy-saving qualities, but also its bird-saving capacity.
At Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC), bird collisions were occurring almost daily, campus administrator Lisa Apel-Gendron told pennlive.com.
“It was disturbing to students and faculty. While researching solutions, we realized we could also address the escalating energy costs at the same time,” she says.
So ACCC had CollidEscape window film installed, which is, according to its website, “the only guaranteed and permanent bird collision preventative on the market [which] stops all bird strikes with glass. Period.” The films can be white or gray on the outside but is transparent from the inside of the buildings.
After applying the film, ACCC has seen positive results.
“We are thrilled to report that we’ve noted no collisions since the CollidEscape installation. Students, faculty and staff are obviously happy about this development, and they appreciate the relief from the sun glare and heat as well,” Apel-Gendron told Window Film Magazine.
But bird collisions are not exclusive to the community college. According to the American Bird Conservancy, an estimated 300 million to 1 billion birds die each year from collisions with glass on everything, from skyscrapers to homes.
“Birds can’t see glass [and] they don’t understand the same cues [humans do]. They treat the world very literally,” says Christine Sheppard, bird collisions campaign manager for the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “If they see trees on the other side of a glass wall, they don’t know there’s an obstacle and if they see the reflection of a tree in glass, they don’t know that they can’t fly to it. They slam into the glass and many of them die right away.”
Entire cities have taken action to curb these collisions and are using film to do it. In 2011, the San Francisco Planning Department passed the “Bird-Friendly Monitoring and Certification Program,” which provides buildings with a pathway to become a “Certified Bird-Friendly Building.” For buildings built prior to 2011, the standards are voluntary, but buildings constructed after 2011 will have to meet the regulations. According to the policy, buildings are “Bird-Friendly” when they treat at least 75 percent of windows with large amount of window film.
In Toronto, similar measures have been passed. In fact, because many of the birds dying due to collisions with windows were on the Canadian endangered species list, the province of Ontario now regulates buildings reflecting light that leads to bird fatalities, according to ABC.
Because new buildings often have regulations in place that aim to ensure bird-friendliness, Sheppard focuses her energy on increasing existing buildings’ safety. “There is so much glass in the environment that window film is the primary solution … It is obviously much cheaper than replacing the glass [and] you don’t have to do an entire building – you’ll reduce your collisions probably 80 percent if you [put patterned film] on the first four floors,” she says. She recommends people apply durable film to the outside of buildings so that birds have a better chance of seeing it.
But the effectiveness of window film is not exclusive to commercial buildings.
“Window film is also a good option for home windows,” Sheppard says.