There are four basic benefits most often used to promote solar control: reducing glare, solar heat and light pollution, while increasing privacy. While these are great reasons to employ solar control, they only scratch the surface. Here are four new compelling arguments to consider.

According to the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide, “Buildings can be more effective, exciting places to work, learn, and live by encouraging adaptability, improving comfort, supporting sense of community, and by providing connections to the natural environment, natural light, and view.”

But, bringing more natural light and views of the outside creates additional problems. Glare, solar heat gain, and direct sun on workers’ eyes or workspaces make it harder to perform basic work functions and lower productivity. So, the Whole Building Design Guide states, “Solar control solutions, including both exterior and interior shading systems, are … an important part of designing a productive building.”

When the Glen Ellyn Elementary School District in Illinois decided it was time to build four new schools, the architects specified that classroom windows in the new schools had to be furnished with motorized shades. The main reason for this is rather sobering.

“One of the concerns is that should there ever be a need to lock down a school, they wanted to be able to quickly throw a switch to lower the shades so your movements can’t be seen,” said Al Marx of Shadeology, who installed the Draper shades. “You don’t have time to be running to the windows to pull chains, while you’re trying to take care of a classroom of elementary children.”

There’s also more and more need to shade not just the exterior windows but also the inside windows, according to Marx, again citing the safety concerns about masking movement inside the classroom.

For a case study illustrating how shades can contribute to a school safety plan, click here.

Home Health
More people are deciding to design and build homes where they can stay in their own home and age on their own terms. The design strategy for aging in pace includes more natural light, especially with dementia patients. Having access to natural daylight and being able to see outside views has been shown to reduce patient stays in healthcare facilities, reduce needed pain medication, and improve mood and productivity. Unshaded windows, however, can also introduce problems such as discomfort, glare, and heat gain.

Draper offers many solutions for handling these issues. For instance, our Bottom-Up FlexShade lets you enjoy natural light through the top of the window opening, while providing protection from glare—or even privacy, depending on the fabric—on the lower portion of the window. For more information on the role of shades in aging in place, click here.

Noise Reduction
The non-profit group Noise Pollution Clearinghouse calls noise one of the most pervasive pollutants in today’s built environment. “Noise negatively affects human health and well-being,” according to their website. “Problems related to noise include hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, distraction and lost productivity, and a general reduction in the quality of life and opportunities for tranquility.”

To mitigate these problems, we offer EchoControl, a line of acoustical shading solutions. EchoControl reduces reverberation—echo—inside a room, as well as the overall level of sound in a space. Acoustic treatments are already used to improve the acoustics within a room by using sound-absorptive materials. With EchoControl, echoing caused by sound reflecting off windows can also now be addressed, even as glare and solar heat gain are reduced. To learn more about EchoControl, click here.

To find out how window shades and solar control can help your project, contact your Draper representative. Click here to go to our online contact page.

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