Optimising Energy Efficiency

Most people, especially in residential environments, will choose blinds based on colour, with the aim to match an existing aesthetic in the room. Such decisions are made without giving consideration, or having access, to full information on the performance of blind fabrics. The choice of fabric may dramatically affect the environmental comfort and energy efficiency of an indoor space.

SP Blinds’ fabric expert, Nurit Zubrey says the most common material used for blinds is PVC-coated sunscreen fabrics, which are perforated fabrics that you can see-through. They filter light and either reflect or absorb heat. “The amount of light or heat absorbed or reflected is determined by many factors in the makeup of the fabric, but the most crucial factor is its colour,” Zubrey says. “When the sun hits a light-coloured sunscreen, it reflects the heat but lets in a lot of glare. Dark colours swallow the light but they absorb a lot of heat, which is then transferred into the room.”

Depending on the purpose of the blinds, and other various conditions, colour choice is vital. If they are for an office environment, dark colours help to eliminate glare and allow people to use screens effectively. However, because dark blinds absorb a lot of heat, they significantly warm the room, which means a higher level of air conditioning is required to ensure the room remains at an ambient temperature.

Conversely, light coloured blinds will not absorb heat but they will filter a lot of light. “In areas like a living area where children are playing, these may be suitable as natural light will be desired, but they are not conducive to using computers or watching television as they do not prevent glare.”

Zubrey says most sunscreen fabrics used by SP Blinds have been tested in laboratories to determine the exact levels of heat and light absorbed and reflected. “They are measured for two main factors; the first is the level of visual light transmittance (VLT). A light coloured fabric will have a VLT between 20 and 30 per cent, while dark colours typically transmit under 10 per cent.” The second factor tested for is heat absorbance. A typical white fabric will have an 

absorbance level under 20 per cent, while a dark coloured sunscreen absorbs between 85 and 90 per cent of the heat.

SP Blinds offer a unique solution to this issue, in its Ecoview product range. Ecoview fabrics are made in Germany from Trivera CS yarn, which absorbs only half the amount of heat a PVC-coated sunscreen does while the Ecoview Met range of blinds have an aluminium coating on the back, which significantly reduces glare. “The Ecoview range provides an excellent solution to the issue of colour choice, providing people the ability to choose any colour while knowing the heat and light reflection and absorption will work effectively for any application.”

This solution also allows people to make choices that will improve the energy efficiency of their home or office space, by ensuring rooms are kept an ambient temperature and avoiding the use of non-essential air-conditioning.

Zubrey says the Ecoview range is the most environmentally-friendly blind fabric in the market, made without any harmful chemicals and has the lowest emission levels.

While these sunscreen blinds are suitable for many applications, blinds for bedroom areas are often chosen for different qualities – most frequently for their ability to completely block light and to help insulate. “Our Thermo Block range provides 100 per cent light block with an insulating thermal backing, which is ideal for bedrooms and to keep heat in the room in colder months.”

To discuss how you can improve the light and temperature control in your home or office, get in touch with SP Blinds on ArchiPro here.