A trip up into the attic last year and a closer look at our upstairs air conditioning unit revealed that on a scale of 1-10 our energy efficiency was a whopping 2.5! Seeing as replacing the air conditioning unit when it wasn't really on the fritz seemed a little like overkill and well, expensive.
Then there are the windows. Given that we live in middle class suburbia in a "builder's grade" subdivision home of less than 100 homes (and about only 5-6 floorplans) our windows are aluminum, very lightweight aluminum. I'm guessing that on a scale of 1-10 in energy efficiency, they probably rate about the same as the air conditioner. I'm not even going to guess how much it would cost to replace them but since they didn't have any holes or gaps replacing that seemed overkill as well.
Our solution? Window film!
We came upon the possibility when looking for a solution to our storm door window problem. You see, we face east to west and get BLAZING afternoon sun directly on our front door. Combine a glass storm door with a metal covered door and you've got the perfect set up for cooking eggs on your front door...or branding yourself or your children should you happen to touch it accidentally in passing.
We didn't want to buy a new storm door or front door (which has been permanently warped due to the heat - but hey, it closes and locks just fine for now!) so we thought about buying window film. After a quick scan of our local coupon magazine, we found several places that would add tint to the window for about $10 a square foot. A trip to Lowe's netted after some research on line and we opted to try
The result was that it DID cut down the amount of heat coming in, so much so that we decided to do it for the whole house.