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Avoid this mistake when specifying blinds
Category: All,Environmental,Technical
By: John James

It is entirely possible that blinds are sometimes seen as a minor item along with a whole lot of other fixtures and fittings that can be taken care of by a ‘use-what-we-did-on-the-last-project’ approach. The following experience we had last month highlights the problem that this can cause.

12 months ago we were approached by a building contractor working on the construction and fit-out of a high profile office building project.

The architect’s specification for blinds, allowed for manual roller blinds in a screen fabric with 3% openness in colour white.

It would appear that little regard had been given for the fact that all elevations of the building were floor to ceiling glass. Or that at 6 storeys high, the top 4 floors of this A-grade office building would be higher than all surrounding buildings, thus exposing them to uninterrupted sunlight.

We attended site and queried the specification, and put forward alternative fabrics explaining to the contractor and architect, that a 3% white screen fabric, whilst it would reduce solar heat gain, and give the interior a light, airy ambience, it would not offer sufficient protection from glare. We could provide the same 3% openness screen fabric in the same colour but with a metallised backing that would dramatically reduce the amount of glare as well as giving a much better heat reflecting performance.

The architect stuck with their original specification, citing the uplift in costs for a high performance fabric as prohibitive.

This is a key issue that is easy to overlook when specifying blinds. A lot of attention is given to reducing solar heat gain, which is why a light colour is specified. But equal consideration should also be given to reducing glare – especially now that every desk has at last one computer screen and the use of floor-to-ceiling glazing continues it rise in popularity.

Last month we were called back by the architect following complaints from the occupants that the blinds were not ‘doing their job’.  The white screen fabric was doing little to cut glare and if anything appeared to be creating more glare! The only option was to replace the fabric on all blinds for a high performance fabric.

We installed Verosol Silverscreen fabric to all blinds, with the architect footing the bill.

The lessons to take away from this are:

  • Consider glare as well as heat issues when considering blind fabrics!
  • Don’t just assume that the blinds you specified last time and the time before that, will be adequate now.
  • Consult an expert. Our advice is free and we have a team with many years of experience in all aspects of solar shading. Our interactive and engaging RIBA approved CPD presentation includes real life demonstrations to explain the science of solar shading.

To find out more about the potential that Verosol Silverscreen fabric has to improve health & well-being by cutting heat and glare, reduce energy consumption and help you hit BREEAM targets check out our website page here or contact us.

About the author

John James Marketing Director