CHECK OUT: All About Smart Shades
With winter fast approaching us fast here in New Jersey, and the cost of oil, natural gas and propane (LP) set to soar, we wanted to show you some real numbers on energy savings with motorized blinds and Lutron smart shades. They truly are a great way to save money on your business and home energy bill all year around by keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The exact savings will depend on the type of window covering, the season, the climate, and how the shade or blind is used. Energy.gov claims, on average, about 30% of a home's heating energy is lost through windows. In cooling seasons, about 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows, enters to become heat. Window shades are especially important in colder climates where heat loss can be a major issue. They are also a great way to keep your home more comfortable. By controlling the amount of light that enters your home or business, you can create a more relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for entertaining or simply relaxing after a long day.
Benefits of Energy:
Energy savings: By reducing the amount of heat loss through windows, automated window coverings can help save on energy costs.
Temperature control: smart motorized window coverings can help regulate the temperature of a space, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Reduced solar heat gain: By preventing unwanted solar heat gain through windows, they can help keep a space cooler in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning.
Comfort improvement: By controlling the amount of daylight and glare entering a room, automated window coverings can help make a space more comfortable to be in.
According to a study by Purdue University, adding automated window coverings to your business can save 10-20% of cooling energy. This is because shades can help keep the heat out of your building, making it easier and more efficient to cool your office. There are a number of different factors that affect how much energy you can save with motorized shades. These include the type of window you have, the orientation of your property, and the climate you live in. However, even if you don't have perfect conditions for saving energy, adding shades can still help improve your businesses comfort and efficiency. Sources: Lutron commissioned study by Herrick Laboratories. Purdue University. 2011
Types of window coverings:
There are several types of automated window coverings, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Here is a brief overview of the most popular types:
Interior blinds and shades offer only a small amount of insulation and are most effective for privacy, room darkening, and blocking sunlight.
Cellular shades are the best choice for insulating your home, as they trap air in their honeycomb-like cells. They are also very affordable and very effective at blocking out light.
Pleated shades offer a sleek, elegant look and can be retracted completely when not in use. They are also very effective at controlling light and providing privacy. However, they may not provide much insulation.
Roller shades are a classic choice for window coverings, and can be very effective at blocking out light. However, they do not provide much insulation.
Roman shades are a beautiful option for window coverings, but can be difficult to clean and may not provide much insulation, depending on the design and material.
Storm windows and window panels are a great choice for protecting your home from the elements, but can be expensive and require professional installation
Shutters are a timeless choice for window coverings and can help your energy bills.
Exterior plastic films applied directly to glass can offer great protection from the sun and wind, but can be difficult to remove and may not be very durable.
Exterior shades are typically made from fabric or vinyl. The material may have openings that allow some visibility through the window, but the larger the openings, the less protection from solar gain. When choosing exterior shutters or shades, it is important to consider the climate and the amount of sunlight that hits the windows. In hot climates, solar heat gain can be a major problem, so choosing materials that will reflect or absorb heat is crucial. In cooler climates, protecting against drafts and wind is more important, so materials that are good insulators are a better choice.
Awnings can be particularly effective on south-facing windows, which tend to receive the most direct sunlight. By shading these windows with an awning, you can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65%. West-facing windows can also benefit from awnings, with shading providing up to 77% heat reduction.
Solar screens are a great way to reduce solar heat gain, UV damage, and glare. They can be installed on the interior or exterior as roller shades or fixed panels, and they typically allow for a view out the window and light transmission. The openness factor on solar screens varies and affects the efficiency benefits; greater openness reduces the protection against glare and solar heat gain but increases visibility and light transmission.
Storm windows are a great choice for protecting your home from the elements, but can be expensive and require professional installation.
Why are cellular shades the best for energy savings?
First, the honeycomb design of the shade helps to trap air, which acts as an insulator. This means that heat is not able to escape through the window as easily, and your home will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulated cellular shades also have the highest R-values of all window coverings. The air pockets in the honeycomb cross-sections act as insulators, increasing the R-value and reducing the conduction of heat through the window.
Another reason they are great for energy savings is they can be adjusted to allow just the right amount of light into the space. During the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, you can open up the shades to let in more light and warmth. During the summer, when the sun is higher in the sky, you can close them partially or all the way to keep your home cooler.
What is R-value?
R-value is a measure of thermal resistance, or the ability of a material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at insulating. Shade cloth typically has an R-value between 1 and 3, meaning it provides some insulation but is not as effective as thicker materials like fiberglass or foam.
Glare from windows can be a major productivity killer, according to a study by the Heschong Mahone Group. In their research, they found that glare can reduce productivity by up to 25%. There are many factors that can affect how much of a productivity hit you'll take from glare, including how sensitive you are to sunlight. But if you can eliminate or reduce the amount of glare in your workspace, you could see a significant boost in productivity. Sources: Heschong Mahone Group, Inc., 2003. Windows and offices: A study of office workers performance and the indoor environment. Prepared for the California Energy Commission.
What Is Daylight Harvesting?
This is the process of using natural light to supplement or replace electric lighting. By installing energy-efficient windows and making use of smart shading and smart lighting controls, businesses can reduce their energy consumption and costs. Not only does this save energy and money, but it can also improve employee productivity by providing better working conditions. Studies have shown that employees who have access to natural light are more productive, suffer from less eyestrain, less headaches, and take fewer sick days than those who don’t.
In a typical office setting, about 40 percent of the electricity used for lighting is wasted because the lights are on when they don’t need to be or they’re not bright enough to properly illuminate the space. Think about a long office in a high rise building, the desks closer to the windows, have natural light, while the desks further back depend on traditional ceiling lights, however, the lights on over the desk closest to the window are wasting energy. That’s where daylight harvesting comes in. By making use of sensors that measure the amount of natural light entering a space, smart shades and lights can adjust themselves accordingly to reduce or eliminate the need for electric lighting.
If you’re interested in daylight harvesting for your New Jersey or NYC office, you will need windows that are energy-efficient. They should be double or triple-paned and have low-e coatings to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. You’ll also need an automated shading and lighting controls, which can be integrated with your existing building management system.
It’s important to partner with a qualified daylighting consultant like HiDEF of NJ who can help you identify the best solution for your space and ensure that it’s properly installed. With the right daylight harvesting solution in place, you can save energy, money, and increase employee productivity – all while doing your part to protect the environment. If you're interested in saving energy with motorized blinds and shades, we can help recommend the right solution for your windows.
Lutron’s automated shading systems can provide significant energy savings compared to manual shades. In a perimeter private office with a lighting power density of 0.9W/ft², a standard clear double pane glass, and a shade fabric with 5% transmittance and 76% reflectance, automated shades can increase lighting energy savings from daylight harvesting by 1.6kWh/sq.ft./yr. This is based on an energy simulation of three window to wall ratios: 20%, 40%, and 60%. The base case was modeled with manual shades in the closed position. Actual savings may vary based on window transmittance, how far the shades are closed and occupant usage among other factors. Sources: Lutron commissioned study by Herrick Laboratories. Purdue University. 2013.
Tips on getting the most of your automated shades:
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy 75% of residential window coverings remain in the same position every day. This tells us people do not know how much energy savings they are really letting in and out of their windows. Here are some tips on how to use your motorized and smart shades in the best possible manner.
During the summer months, keep south- and west-facing windows covered during the hottest hours of the day to help keep your home or business cool. In the winter, let in sunlight during the daytime to help warm your home naturally, then close them in the evening to help trap the heat in.
Take advantage of natural light. During the daytime, open shades on all windows to let in sunlight and brighten up your home.
Consider privacy and light control when choosing window coverings. If you want more privacy, choose window coverings that can be completely closed, like blinds or shutters. If you want more light control, choose window treatments that allow you to adjust the amount of light coming in, like sheer curtains or draperies with a liner.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your window coverings and use them to help create a comfortable, stylish home.
What does the NFRC label tell me,?
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization that provides accurate and meaningful energy performance ratings for windows, doors, skylights and attachment products. The NFRC label is your best guide to compare the energy efficiency of these products. In hot climates, window shades should be selected for their ability to reflect or absorb solar radiation. In cold climates, window shades should be selected for their ability to reduce heat loss. The NFRC label can help you compare the energy efficiency of different window shade products.
The NFRC label provides two ratings:
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures how well a product blocks heat from the sun. The lower the SHGC, the better the product is at blocking solar heat.
The U-factor measures how well a product prevents heat from escaping. The lower the U-factor, the better the product is at preventing heat loss.
When choosing window shades, look for products with a low SHGC and a low U-factor. These products will help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The NFRC label can be found on the product or in the manufacturer’s literature. It includes the product’s U-factor and SHGC, as well as other information such as the manufacturer’s name and the type of window shade.
For more information about the NFRC and its label, visit www.nfrc.org.
What is AERC
When choosing window coverings, it is also important to look for products that are certified with the Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) Energy Improvement rating. The energy rating indicates that the product has been certified according to strict standards set forth by the AERC. They are an independent, public interest, non-profit organization whose mission is to rate, label and certify the energy performance of window attachment products.
The AERC Certified Product Search allows you to browse through the current window attachment products that have received their certification. This can help you choose a product that will provide increased energy savings and added comfort.
For more information about the NFRC , visit www.nfrc.org
How can we help you save?
There are a as many different options as there are windows and our custom solutions will blow you away, when many say it is not possible, HiDEF say it is. There is a lot of detail from start to finish and we have the experience to make sure your shades are installed and programmed properly. If they're not, they won't be as effective at saving energy. We will help you understand how to use your shades properly, in order to get the most out of them. This means making sure they are opening and closing when needed to help keep your home comfortable and efficient.
47 Broad St.
Red Bank NJ 07701