In today’s era of pushing for more sustainable architecture, achieving certifications like BREEAM, LEED, SKA and WELL is becoming increasingly important.
And though they’re often overlooked at the specification stage, roller blinds can play a key role in helping to achieve such accreditations.
For our latest blog, we sat down with our Specification Manager, Dan Voller, to discuss how.
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a widely recognised sustainability assessment method for buildings.
It evaluates various aspects of a building’s sustainability performance, including energy efficiency, materials used, indoor environmental quality and management processes.
As BREEAM can contribute to the overall sustainability rating of a building, blinds have a big role to play, as solar shading forms part of the glare control strategy.
Roller blinds are able to reduce the level of artificial lighting required by maximising the amount of natural light entering a building, whilst also reducing glare.
Until 2018, there was only one version of BREEAM. This was focused on ensuring blinds have a TV (transmittance value) of less than 10%. This was updated in 2018 with the additional requirement that the openness factor of the fabric should be no more than 1%.
With either version, should your blind fabric achieve the acquired performance values, this will credit towards your BREEAM certification. (Good, very good, excellent).
Though BREEAM is revolved around the fabrics, if the blinds are not actively used throughout the day then sufficient glare control would not be provided. Therefore, pairing such fabrics with motorised or automated systems maximises the performance of the roller blinds and ensures the building is as energy efficient as possibly. We discuss this in greater depth here.
BREEAM is a very popular, industry standard accreditation and blinds can be an easy way of achieving a credit.
Although LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a certification system developed primarily in the United States, it is also used internationally.
It evaluates buildings based on sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy performance, material selection and indoor environmental quality.
The list below gives an example of how roller blinds can help to meet the criteria of these categories:
- Sustainable site development – blinds can reduce light pollution out of a building if deployed at night.
- Energy performance – roller blinds help to reduce the reliance on HVAC and artificial lighting, therefore improving the building’s energy efficiency.
- Materials – Fabrics consisting of low/no VOC content materials, using recycled/recyclable fabrics and sourcing UK/EU manufactured will all help to limit carbon footprint.
- Indoor environment quality – Using correct fabrics with high performance systems provides excellent thermal comfort whilst maintaining a view to the outside and controlling the amount of daylight entering the building, which is crucial for our circadian rhythm.
While the use of sustainable roller blinds and shading systems can contribute to points in the majority of these categories, they’re mainly focused on the ‘Materials and Resources’ and ‘Indoor Environmental Quality’ categories.
The SKA Rating is a sustainability assessment tool developed specifically for fit-outs and refurbishments in the UK, introduced by RICS as BREEAM at the time did not have it’s own office fit-out scheme.
It assesses various aspects of sustainability, such as energy efficiency, waste management and materials used. Projects can achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold ratings, with roller blinds helping in the following areas:
- D31 – daylight glare control – This is the same criteria as BREEAM; the TV must be less than 10%. Furthermore, there is an added criteria that blind fabrics must have a solar protective covering, like metallisation on the back. We discuss this in greater depth in our RIBA-accredited CPD.
- M23 – Window treatments – At least one of the following must be met: the fabric has at least 80% recycled content and is 100% recyclable, have cradle to cradle Silver certification or above, or have an EPD, which we’re currently working on for our main product line.
WELL Building Standard
Although not specific to sustainability, the WELL Building Standard focuses on promoting health and well-being in buildings.
It covers areas such as air quality, lighting, acoustics, and thermal comfort. Sustainable roller blinds and shading systems can contribute to daylighting and glare control, which are important factors in achieving the desired levels of natural light in a space.
While not an accreditation or certification itself, the Passivhaus standard is a rigorous energy efficiency standard for buildings.
It focuses on reducing energy consumption and achieving high levels of occupant comfort. The design and selection of blinds in a Passivhaus building should prioritise energy efficiency and airtightness to maintain the building’s performance.
Though often overlooked, it’s clear to see how blinds can play an important role in achieving sustainability accreditations. Though we’ve discussed the five above, there may be other accreditations being worked towards.
Get in touch to discuss how we can assist with sustainable roller blinds on your specifications.