Remember this? If you’re of a certain age in the UK you probably will. SCORCHIO! It might have started to cool down now as autumn beckons but this year we’ve definitely been ‘Scorchio’. This summer we’ve seen some soaring temperatures here in the UK with the second highest temperature of 38.1°C on record being hit in June. Looking at the bigger picture – we all know that, worryingly, the general trend in temperatures in the UK are rising. So, the reality for many of us, in the UK and further afield, is that we need to have a serious look at how we can control these temperatures at home and at work. Simply opening the windows is not going to cut it in these sorts of temperatures.
Just switch on the air con, right?
Not necessarily. Air conditioning is an obvious solution but it’s expensive for our pockets and the environment. Fans can help but at the sort of temperatures we are looking at now in the UK it’s not always going to be enough. We need to think more carefully now about keeping our homes and workplaces cool in a way that has minimal impact on the environment. How many of you have considered blinds? Intrigued? Read on.
There are a number of options for energy-efficient window treatments, such as cellular blinds, shutters and roman blinds but after working for many years in this area, our favourite for temperature control has become metal-backed solar blinds. We love the way they look and function and more importantly, so do our clients.
Most of the population are probably unaware that temperature controlling fabrics have been around for many years.
50 years of development
Since the 1960s a company called ‘Verosol’ has been developing specialist fabrics for blinds with the objective of managing the effects of solar radiation. They have devised a very clever system where they coat the fabric with a thin film of a reflective aluminium alloy. Their work over the past 50 or 60 years has been almost entirely focused on producing a fabric for blinds that manages the effects of solar radiation. They are the leading expert in this area – in fact, they are the only company in the world that provide this sort of fabric.
Won’t spoil the view
So, this is the material we opt for when we’re designing a blinds system where temperature control is a requirement. What is totally unique about this fabric is that if you want opaque – so you can still see outside to your beautiful view – you can! You can opt for an opaque fabric that curiously works just as well as blackout. After all, when we’re talking about keeping a space cool from the hot sun, it’s going to be during the day that you’re bringing your blinds down and you don’t want to feel enclosed and boxed in. The Dutch founder and inventor of Verosol, Cornelius Verolme, famously said ‘when you’re sitting inside a room it feels like sitting in the shadow of a tree’. Sounds like bliss doesn’t it!
How well do these blinds work?
When we have mentioned temperature control, in the context of blinds, to friends and clients – the general assumption is that it’s not going to be very effective, especially when they are opaque. It doesn’t seem possible, does it? If you’re thinking the same, then you’ll probably be surprised to see the following illustrations.
As you can see – the difference is significant. The figure that is perhaps the most significant is that 63% of solar radiation finds its way from the outside through glass to the inside without a blind. When a Verosol blind is in place this is 31%.
If you live in a country where you are concerned with heat conservation as well, the blinds can do the reverse as you can see from the graph below, reducing the amount of heat loss – so it’s a win-win. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter.
Fine-tuning your blinds – home automation
As technology develops you can now also fine-tune the effectiveness of your blinds by using automated motorised blinds. Blinds can be scheduled to raise or lower depending on the time of the day or the glare of the sun. This is where energy savings can really be maximised, whether it’s in your home or your workplace, it will make a big difference to your monthly bills and reduce the carbon footprint of your home. These motorised blinds can be solar powered – they do not reduce the benefit that the blinds themselves are producing with regard to energy conservation.
From Commercial to Residential
Historically, blinds like these have been predominantly taken up by the commercial market. The story is that Cornelius, who was also a famous shipbuilder, sailed into New York in the 60s and marvelled at the impressive high-rise skyline. Being an entrepreneurial kind of guy, he started to wonder how they managed the interior climate of these glass-clad buildings. So initially, shading solutions were developed for these commercial skyscrapers.
Over the years, however and with the immediate need for cooling solutions that don’t impact on the environment and contribute further to climate change, it makes sense to start using these intelligently engineered blinds in our homes. As installers of high-end automated window treatments are keen to introduce this technology to our residential clients and so are the manufacturers. Whole ranges of colours and styles are available to enhance the style of the home or workplace and at an affordable price.
Time for change
We all need to look at how we regulate the temperature in our homes and workplaces. The climate is warming, more extreme temperatures will become more frequent. The reality is that in the very near future we may be forced by government legislation to make dramatic alterations to improve energy conservation in every building we use. Many of us are already switching to energy providing companies that only produce energy sustainably from wind, solar or wave power sources, some of us are installing solar panels onto our houses or offices and insulating our homes better.
Temperature control automated blinds are an energy-saving solution that we think need to be shouted about more.
Some demos of automated Verosol blinds
Part of the joy of automated blinds is how they work in unison. Take a look at these videos of recently installed sets of blinds using Verosol fabric in a commercial and residential setting. If you would like to discuss your project with us, please give us a call on 0113 898 0078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. No obligation of course!