In both commercial and residential construction sustainability is a big part of the conversation. Customers want their buildings to have a reduced environmental impact during construction and throughout their life cycle.

Window shades can contribute to this effort in several ways; Here are four of them:

Ease up on the HVAC.
Solar energy has a huge impact on comfort levels, whether you’re at home, school, or work. Unfiltered sunlight can create harsh glare on work surfaces and computer screens, but the bigger issue is with heat. Direct sunlight can make people near windows extremely warm and uncomfortable. Unfiltered sunlight also has a negative impact further inside the building envelope through solar heat gain.

Meanwhile, winter conditions can have the opposite effect, especially for those workers near the windows.

Solar heat gain issues are typically mitigated by turning up the air conditioning in summer and the heat in winter, meaning more energy use and higher bills.

Window shades help mitigate glare, heat gain, and winter heat loss. Motorized and automated shades keep track of the sun’s location throughout the day and adjust them accordingly to get the biggest benefit. Sensors detect changes in conditions and shades are deployed to adapt.

This can not only help generate savings on utility bills—it can also help improve employee performance thanks to increased comfort levels.

Limit the lighting.
Another big energy user (and business cost) is lighting. Window shades work in combination with the façade and lighting designs to help reduce the need for artificial lighting at certain periods. As part of an overall daylighting strategy, automated shading systems are integrated with building controls to make the best use of natural light while mitigating heat and glare issues mentioned earlier.

In addition to saving on lighting energy use and cost, the use of natural daylight improves comfort and increases employee performance.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Nearly any manufacturing process creates some level of waste. With our lean approach to manufacturing, however, we have found ways to greatly reduce waste generated in shade production.

We reduced waste by developing a program that maximizes the area of fabric used when cutting shade panels from the roll.

When we’re finished with fabric rolls, we return most shipping cores to the weaver. They will then reuse the cores to send future rolls of fabric back out.

We recycle what scrap metal is generated. We also return scraps of GreenScreen Evolve®, Revive®, and Nature® fabrics, which are 100% recyclable, back to the weaver.

End the off gassing.
Off gassing is the process by which objects release chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Some VOCs can be detected because there is a noticeable odor, but others have no noticeable smell. Many VOCs are irritants and long-term exposure can negatively impact the health of building occupants.

Draper tackles this issue by offering a very large selection of fabrics that are GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold certified. These UL certifications guarantee that the fabrics have been tested and meet the world’s strictest standards of off gassing.

To learn more about the sustainability gains of using window shades, read our white paper on the subject. Click here to open a PDF of “The Green Side of Window Shades.”

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