Monthly Archives

March 2021

Making Schools Safer With Window Film Blog title

Making Schools Safer With Window Film

By Building Security, Education, Safety & Security Films, Solar Window Film, Window Film No Comments

The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook in 2012 left a nation shocked and grieving. Not only were there 26 victims whose families would be forever altered, but most of the violence took place at an elementary school in a relatively small, quiet, peaceful Connecticut town.

Sandy Hook was not the first nor the last school shooting. And though the nation has tried to deal with the threat of violence on public school grounds, the massacre in Newton elevated the issue to a new level. As a result, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission issued a 277-page report in 2015 and the Federal Commission on School Safety has continued to issue recommendations and guidelines for school districts across the country.

When it comes to school safety, there is no perfect solution. No building can be made 100% threat-proof.

But we can implement strategies, response plans, and deterrents that can make a difference should the worst happen. In fact, the Federal Commission on School Safety and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission report both recommended safety window film as deterrents in schools. Safety window film, security window film, and hybrid safety-security window film are three such deterrents.

 

How window film can make schools safer

Today’s contemporary safety window films offer a baseline level of protection for vulnerable buildings, offices, and classrooms. Most are designed to reduce shatter when the glass is broken or penetrated. Safety film layered on the interior offers a first line of defense, and school administrators can opt to include a second layer of protection on the exterior. 

One of the original functions of window film—tinting—continues to be a feature of many modern safety-security window films, though with a newly evolved purpose: privacy. Today’s highrises, office complexes, and exposed building facades often have a shaded, or tinted window film application throughout as a way to ensure privacy. This tinting also very likely reduces the solar load on a building.

As it turns out, the privacy benefit that comes with shading and tinting in window film also has a particular safety benefit: windows that are shaded or darkened on the exterior make it more difficult for shooters to target individuals within a classroom, office, or building. This benefit can serve as a major deterrent to a single-minded individual who means to do harm with a firearm.

No deterrent can stop all threats. But safety and security window film can help significantly deter the impact of a threat emanating from outside the classroom or office. NGS offers a unique building hardening program ideal for school districts, offering:

  • Zoned survey approach that mirrors the Federal Commission on School Safety
  • Free surveys delivered with area maps and photos numbered to match zone and area
  • Free proprietary software to tailor the scope and price of each building to match a budget or grant
  • Nationwide government and education contracting vehicles to streamline requisition
  • Government contracting vehicles that are Edgar-compliant to streamline requisition

Available Funding For Building Hardening

Every public school district in America has a budget, and every public school has a list of things they need. Many times administrators have to choose between salaries, supplies, safety, and security. It’s an incredibly tough spot to be in, and budget allocations will continue to be a source of wrangling, dispute, argument, and controversy.

Thankfully, there is money out there for cash-strapped school districts. They’re called grants, and you might qualify! Here’s a list of potential grants that could help you harden your buildings: 

NGS has a team of consultants who are dedicated to just this issue: locating and procuring grant money for the specific purpose of making your school safer. As teachers, principals, and administrators well know, the universe of grants can be more difficult to navigate than you can imagine, and even when you do lock onto a particular grant that suits your needs, the proposal process can be an entirely separate, even more complex process.

Schedule a complimentary glass hardening assessment for your school or district with NGS. We can also help show you the grant money, so you can procure the safety, security, and hybrid window film products that make your school districts safer for future generations.


Photo by Max Fischer from Pexels

The Climate Crisis, National Security, and Solar Window Film

The Climate Crisis, National Security, and Solar Window Film

By Solar Window Film, Window Film No Comments

On January 27, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on “tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad.” The very first section of the order seeks to put “the climate crisis at the center of United States foreign policy and national security.”

The final addendum is particularly interesting: “national security.” Since when is the climate crisis—a massive, globe-encompassing problem—a matter of national security?

But when you think about it, the matter becomes clear. As extreme weather events continue to significantly increase every year, there is an immediate impact on U.S. infrastructure, including military bases and coastal installations. Beyond American shores, extreme weather can lead to mass refugee movements, which can lead to conflicts over scarce resources. These conflicts can and often do have a direct impact on U.S. national security.

Climate change has also led to a major drain on the U.S. power grid, especially in the western states, where mass outages and rolling blackouts are more and more common each year. And these impacts actually make America—and its vast, interconnected, fully networked grid—more vulnerable to foreign infiltrators. Think Russia.

Finally, the global community’s response to the climate crisis—in the form of the Paris Agreement, the Group of Seven, and the Group of 20—forges alliances and sects among nations based on a particular government’s approach to climate change. Though not immediately obvious, these “lines in the sand” can lead to unforeseen conflict in the future.

So, there you have it. The climate absolutely impacts national security.

But what in tarnation does this have to do with window film? Let me explain.

Buildings for a Better Climate

When sun-control window films were first introduced way back in 1966, they were essentially little more than what we now view as “window tint.” Not to belittle that pioneering invention, but early solar window films refracted a bit of the sun’s powerful and multitudinous light spectrum, creating some shade and fostering a bit of interior cooling. And that was about it.

Leap forward into a new century and generations of engineering advancements, and you’ve entered into an entirely new era of sun- and solar-control window film. Today’s films offer powerful refracting technologies, which lead directly to interior cooling and, by extension, lower energy bills. After all, if your entire building is kept just a little cooler on the interior each and every hot summer day—even just a few degrees—the air conditioning systems don’t have to work as hard, or as often. And that means they don’t pull as much power from the energy grid.

On the flip side, during cold winter months, modern solar window film acts as an insulator. A proper application of an advanced sun control window film throughout a building actually creates a thin insulating layer that helps to hold heat in and keep cold out. Again, this insulating effect eases the burden on the building’s HVAC systems. Which means a lower energy bill.

The link between window film and national security

So you still may be wondering. Okay, window films lower energy costs. But how in the world do they impact national security?

Massive highrises. Sprawling office parks. Huge government complexes, all spread throughout the gargantuan piece of real estate known as the lower 48. And all this infrastructure has a nearly incalculable impact on the power grid.

So, when a winter deep freeze creeps into its fourth week, or a scalding summer drought stretches over two months, all those buildings continue to run their HVAC systems ever harder. Eventually, all this power consumption overwhelms the grid, leading to rolling blackouts and mass outages. And from that point, the vulnerabilities in the places we work, live, and conduct business emerge at exponential rates.

A commitment to greener buildings

Inherent in the Biden climate plan is a commitment to smarter, greener construction, development, and infrastructure improvement. Such a commitment means leaning more and more on resources like solar, wind, and lithium-ion.

There’s been a revolution in green buildings over the past few decades. Rooftops are now looked at in entirely different ways than they were in the past, not to mention HVAC systems, insulation, and alternative energy sources. Sun control and solar control window films are very much a part of this ongoing green revolution, and window films like 3M™ Prestige give you the dual benefit of solar control and security. They also happen to make the nation more secure.

Learn more about how window film can help your building go green in our on-demand webinar: Sun Control Window Films.


Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

building exterior security

Building Envelope Security 101

By Building Security, Safety & Security Films No Comments

A simple checklist to ensure your building is safe

So if you manage, own, construct, or develop a large commercial property or building, it makes sense to put together a building security checklist to properly assess your building’s security envelope—including weak points, high-traffic areas, parking, access points, and vulnerabilities.

Especially in the wake of the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, there is no time like the present to really understand building security.

Here’s a simple checklist:

▢ Access control

People enter the building, often from multiple access points like doors, breezeways, lobbies, sliding-glass doors, and atria. Employees, staff, maintenance people, and tenants may be required to have keys or a key card to gain proper entry, or to access the elevator bank. You may require physical check-in at a reception area if you are a visitor or guest, and the building may offer parking validation. You may even be required to scan a key card once in the elevator, or you may be issued a barcoded guest or visitor pass.

All of these are examples of building access, and really represent the most vital areas of the security envelope. Access control can be minimal (a set of keys) or stringent (iris recognition), but it is important to have a plan in place to follow throughout the year. That means adequate staffing, a stock of keys, keycards, and visitor passes, and a regular schedule for software updates, patches, and upgrades.

▢ Technology

Technology seeps into every aspect of your building security envelope. If you use keycards, barcodes, or scans for access, we’ve already brought technology into the mix. But there are many more layers of technology that may be at play in your building.

Start with the security camera. Or cameras, plural. A large commercial complex may even utilize an entire CCTV system, complete with a dedicated control room, and direct links to emergency response and police. Whether you have a single security camera at the building’s main entrance or a dedicated network of cameras throughout every floor of a highrise, it’s important that devices are properly maintained and regularly monitored. After all, what good is a security camera if the lens is damaged, or if it has stopped working altogether?

▢ On-site security

As part of your building security plan, you may employ a security guard on-site, or an entire security team. You may have a separate, on-site security force for parking lots and structures, and you may have dedicated security at reception as well as in a control room or CCTV station.

The physical presence of guards and attendants can greatly enhance the level of security and safety in your building or property. It’s important to make sure your on-site security staff has a regular, closely maintained schedule, proper and ongoing training, and a strong understanding of building safety codes, emergency action plans, and security policies.

▢ Building security/hardening

Building security can be further improved by hardening existing levels of threat and damage protection. The major arteries and access points of your building—doors, glass, windows, sliding-glass entry—are also the major security vulnerabilities.

If you want to harden your building security, NGS recommends a three-tiered approach:

TIER 1: ENTRY LEVEL SECURITY FILM

  • 3M™ Ultra 800 and 3M™ impact protection adhesive on the interior of all glass

TIER 2: TRI-SHIELD SECURITY SYSTEM

  • Best-in-class security film
  • 3M™ Ultra 800 and 3M™ impact protection adhesive on the interior of all glass and exterior weatherable film

TIER 3: RIOT GLASS™ ACCESS DENIAL

  • Patented, clear armor for your building
  • Leading anti-breach protection
  • Always working, permanent clear board up
  • No maintenance or operation required
  • Scratch-resistant and UV-coated
  • Retrofits to all storefronts
  • Comes in ballistic options
  • Noise dampening

The higher the tier, the more hardened your building security. NGS regularly consults with contractors, architects, and designers for buildings and properties of all sizes to recommend a tier that makes the most sense for your business or organization.

So there you have it. With this simple checklist, you’ll have a much better knowledge of your building security envelope. And with this knowledge comes the power to improve overall building security for your employees, staff, visitors, and tenants.

Learn more about how NGS can help harden your business no matter the industry.