Is the selection of window shade fabrics purely about aesthetics and color? Not at all, and that’s a big misconception. Many factors influence these decisions.

To discuss what those are and bring insights to listeners, host Tyler Kern talked everything fabrics with Jeff Miller, Director of Architectural Shading Solutions for Draper, and Colin Blackford, Director of Business Development for Mermet USA.

Quantifying its performance, which includes many components, is key to choosing the right fabric.

“It’s an equation of things. First, light either reflects, transmits, or is absorbed,” Miller said. “There’s also the openness factor of how much the shade blocks out and the visible transmission.”

Technology and software are supporting this trend of quantifying the performance of the fabric. Additionally, fabrics are no longer independent from other aspects of design.

“Fabrics were once an interior designer’s choice based on color schemes and the interior view,” Blackford said. “But you have to consider the glass, because every window has it.”
All glass has a tint, most often a greenish hue from the iron. That tint changes the look. Blackwood and Miller both reiterated the importance of architects and designers working with their teams in the beginning. Discussion about how the space will be used, occupant comfort and more influence the decision.

Automation is an important factor, as well.

“Automation maximizes the performance of the building, glare control and comfort. It also looks better from the exterior to have consistency,” Miller added.

The biggest challenge is the balance between aesthetics and performance. While there’s no perfect solution, Blackwood described a new Mermet product, KOOLBLACK®.

“A dark color in the window is great for glare control, almost disappearing behind the glass. But dark colors absorb energy and can disperse into the environment. KOOLBLACK doesn’t absorb any energy,” he said.

With innovative engineering solutions from Draper and Mermet’s beautiful and functional fabric, the two companies deliver expertise on the subject to architects and designers around the country.

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