One of the ways to improve protection of homes during the summer - whether from seasonal typhoons or strong ultraviolet (UV) light - is by the use of window films. They are easy to install and recommended by many architects. Some are designed to reduce solar heat and ultraviolet rays entering buildings through windows. This cuts down on wasted energy and reduces cooling costs. Others provide additional protection against violent storms and typhoons, where there is a danger of windows shattering and injuries from flying glass. The Skin Cancer Foundation in New York says window films can cut down glare by more than half and block up to 99.9 per cent of UV rays. The foundation vets products that claim to be UV-protective and recommends those it believes pass muster, including window films. Green building advocate and founder of Envirobuilding Solutions in Central, Winston Lam, says safety and security window films, such as those from SunTek, provide increased protection. 'During the typhoon season in Hong Kong, many residents with sea-facing properties or large windows attempt to reinforce these to prevent the shattering of glass,' Lam says. 'By preventing flying glass shards from causing injury during violent storms and typhoons, and also deterring opportunist smash-and-grab robberies, these window films offer increased protection for a variety of applications.' Others provide improved transparency at night compared to conventional films, preventing interior lights from turning windows into reflective surfaces that obscure the views. High-performance window film is typically cut to size and professionally installed by a dealer-representative affiliated with a manufacturer such as 3M or Solar Gard. Some films can also block up to 82 per cent of solar heat entering via windows, including infrared and ultraviolet rays. According to the Building Energy Databook, a report published by the US Department of Energy, solar heat gain through windows is responsible for roughly one third of a building's cooling load. This is good news for interiors as window shields will give favourite pieces of furniture a longer lifespan and reduce colour-fading on wooden floors, wall and furniture coverings. Decorative opaque window films, with a myriad of graphic print designs to choose, from are available to protect privacy. These give the appearance of frosted glass and are a contemporary alternative to sheer curtains or blinds. Solar shades are also frequently used as a second layer of UV protection, even in a traditional window design. Semitransparent when pulled down, solar shades filter UV rays and heat. They replace the old look vertical blinds with a clean aesthetic or can be used in addition to a soft, sheer drapery.