Reducing energy costs has always been a major factor in the specification of window shades. However, more and more architects and designers are now using shades for a much different reason.

“Energy savings is definitely a big part of window shades but we’re seeing more and more discussions about occupancy comfort and workroom productivity,” said Jeff Miller, LEED®AP, solar control product manager for Draper, Inc.

Jeff discussed the role of windows shades in increasing worker productivity on an episode of the AEC podcast by MarketScale.

“Glare on a computer screen is a major issue when it comes to productivity for workers. Controlling that heat buildup is also a major issue,” Miller said. “If the worker can’t see his computer, and he’s so uncomfortable because of the heat buildup, just imagine how his productivity is going to be affected by those two things.”

A shading strategy’s impact on productivity doesn’t seem like a big driver of cost savings. But when you consider that about 80 percent of the cost of building operation is salaries, even a small increase in productivity can have an enormous impact on the total building productivity.

“Any time you can effect the productivity of the workers it makes a huge difference in the bottom line of the company,” Miller said. “While it may not be something that is noticeable, when the increase is there, I think that’s when it becomes very noticeable.”

During the interview, Jeff went into detail about why shades are an important tool in managing daylight for maximum benefit, and ways Draper shades work to do just that. The podcast covered topics like fabric color and openness, the process of designing a shading strategy, sustainability, tailoring a system that will work best for each particular built environment, and much more.

To hear the full 17-minute podcast and learn more about shades and productivity, click here.