Success Story: The Modesto State Theatre

Solar Gard Window Film Saves Energy and Lowers Utility Bills at The Modesto State Theatre

The Modesto State Theatre sits at the center of the city’s revitalized downtown. The 77-year-old theatre-turned-performing arts center underwent a massive renovation seven years ago – giving it a whole new vitality and energy while still maintaining the unique Art Deco flair. The building now serves as a striking landmark that beautifully blends old and new architecture. Opened on Christmas Day in 1934, The State Theatre is still a cultural hotspot, offering a variety of independent films and performing arts, entertainment, civic and social events.

One of the Theatre’s most striking features is its façade. However, the many southern-facing windows presented three big challenges. Temperatures in Modesto frequently reach the century mark from spring to fall. Sun streaming through the windows made the lobby and box offices uncomfortably hot, and very difficult to keep cool. As a result, the Theatre, a non-profit organization that relies solely on the generosity of its donors, was faced with staggering utility bills for more than half the year. The sunlight also caused a harsh glare at the box office window, as well as faded carpeting, curtains and signage due to the constant UV exposure.

General Manager Susan Richardson wanted to address these problems, but finding a solution was difficult. The high cost associated with most window renovation projects is out of line with the conservative budget of the theater. Additionally, the Theatre is held to strict city ordinances, and options such as adding awnings are not permitted. Confronted with these prohibitive factors, Susan turned to a local Modesto window film dealer for help. Scott Hodges, the owner of The Tint Shop, was able to offer a solution that would help save energy, decrease utility costs, improve employee comfort and save theater fixtures from further UV damage.

As an active participant in his community, Scott was pleased to offer a donation of Solar Gard Panorama® Hilite® 70 window film to the Theatre, and his labor free of charge. With over 17 years of professional experience, Scott recommended Hilite 70 as it offers optimum heat and glare reduction while filtering natural light and providing UV protection. Since the film is neutrally tinted and hardly noticeable once professionally installed, it doesn’t detract from the theater’s façade or obstructs the view into or out of the theater’s lobby. Scott and his team quickly installed Solar Gard on the theater’s box office windows and the doors and sidelights across the front of the building. The results were felt immediately.

“Solar Gard window film has made a profound difference in terms of our energy costs,” said Susan Richardson, State Theatre General Manager. “We immediately noticed that our lobby and offices were cooler and more comfortable. We run the AC 20% less than before, so we’ve realized a big savings on our utility bills. This is important for any business, especially a non-profit like The State Theatre. We couldn’t be happier with our Solar Gard installation!”

Installation Summary

Building Description:

  • The Modesto State Theatre, Modesto, California


  • High utility bills due to excessive air conditioning use, uncomfortable heat gain and glare, and fading due to UV exposure


  • Solar Gard Panorama Hilite 70

Benefits Experienced:

  • Energy and utility bill savings, enhanced comfort, and decreased fading of fixtures