The short answer is – roller blinds are the best school blinds. This post will provide a slightly longer answer by exploring the most important considerations when choosing blinds for schools and explain why roller blinds come out the clear winners.
Adequate shading from the effect of solar heat gain is essential in classrooms. Like plants, students need the right levels of light and temperature in order to grow to their full potential. Excessive glare from the sun and hot, stuffy classrooms make teaching and learning harder than it needs to be. By contrast, classrooms filled with filtered natural daylight with views of the outside world become stimulating learning environments where teachers and students achieve results everyone can be proud of.
The three main considerations when choosing blinds for schools are:
– Heavy usage
– Light & heat control
Safety. Firstly any window blind fabric used in schools must be fire retardant to BS 5867. Don’t be tempted by the cheap prices of domestic blind retailers as blinds from these sources could very likely contravene fire regulations. Secondly, BSEN13120 child safety regulations need to be considered. Any blind with a looped cord (chain operated roller blinds, vertical blinds & venetian blinds) must comply with this legislation.
Heavy usage. School blinds need to be robust. Roller blinds have the least moving parts of any type of window blind and they are also intuitive to use making them less susceptible to damage. This is reflected in the fact a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty on roller blinds is quite common such as the ShadeTech roller blind range. Vertical blinds and venetian blinds are rarely guaranteed beyond 12 months simply because they have numerous small plastic components and at least two operating cords. The Draper range of roller blinds carries a 25-year warranty this really is a fit-and-forget solution. Roller blinds with a geared crank rod operation are more robust than chain control blinds and the option of detachable crank rods means the operation of the blinds can be limited to authorised persons only (i.e. teachers & site managers). Crank rod roller blinds are also ‘safe by design’ and comply with BSEN13120 child safety legislation.
Light & heat control. Controlling both of these elements of solar gain can be tricky as dark colours control light but increase heat and light colours do little to control the light but are great at reflecting heat. Roller blinds offer the broadest range of high-performance fabrics best suited to creating well shaded and cool environments. By contrast vertical blind fabrics are limited to privacy and opaque fabrics and venetian blinds have solid aluminium slats which create shadows on screens and whiteboards as well as impeding the view. The choice of roller blind fabrics is huge – consider Smartshade a unique dual blackout/screen fabric designed for use with interactive whiteboards. It blocks out light at whiteboard-level whilst providing filtered natural light at desk level and retaining a view of the outside. There is Verosol Silverscreen fabric which has a highly reflective metallised backing that reflects up to 82% of solar energy entering a building via the glazing. There are fully opaque blackout fabrics such as DeltaBlock 40 in a wipe-clean finish – ideal for art rooms and food prep areas. Robust PVC coated screen fabric such as Alphashade 20 provide a high degree of shading whilst allowing through vision. They also wipe clean and do not crease or fray.
Roller Blinds simply have the most to offer schools in terms of performance and longevity.
Find out more about the implications of BSEN13120 child safety legislation.