Specifying blinds is seldom at the forefront of an architect or contractors mind at the start of a project. But it should be.
Blinds play a huge role in improving a building’s energy efficiency and will continue to do so in the future, particularly following the Part O regulations introduced last year.
Therefore, consideration early in the specification process is of paramount importance.
And when specifying blinds for a project, a great deal of thought needs to go into the type of blind control option and the fabric, as both will allow the blinds to work as efficiently as possible.
We discuss this in greater detail below.
Automation or occupant control?
This is one of the key considerations when it comes to blind control, as there are a host of options available for both choices.
At the start of a project, a lot of the focus is placed on choosing the most energy efficient fabric. This is crucial, but without pairing this to an intelligent control system, the full potential of the fabric is never reached.
For instance, you could have the best performing fabric when it comes to environmental credentials, but if the blinds are left up throughout the majority of the day, they fabric is essentially redundant.
That’s why it’s important for architects and contractors to work closely with solar shading companies to ensure the design work is as accurate as possible at the beginning of the project. Not only does this allow the blind system to achieve it’s full efficiency potential, it also minimises the amount of hassle and waste during the project and increases the chances of all the goals being met.
So what are some of the control options available?
Through the use of 3D building modelling, the position of the sun in relation to the windows and furniture within a room can be accurately plotted. From the data provided, the blinds can then be perfectly positioned throughout the day to reduce glare for occupancy comfort and maximise the energy efficiency.
Occupancy sensors can determine if the space within an office is being used and change the settings depending on the outcome.
For example, if the area has been vacant for a certain period of time, the blinds would then automatically switch to a full eco mode as glare control is not required at that time. However, once the space is then occupied again, the blinds would switch back to an occupancy comfort setting.
There are several ways to add localised control for the blinds, like via a physical local wall switch or a customised app based system where you can design an interface to suit the requirements of those inside.
And with any localised control, a time sensor can be introduced to ensure the solar management system regains control at set points of the day to maximise the energy efficiency once again.
Facilities Management control
From the central hub of a building using either a web based head end or a physical head end, data on everything from fault finding to blind usage can be provided. Furthermore, facilities management control also allows for all of the blinds to be individually controlled or set in groups throughout the building.
In order for a project to be as sustainable as possible, there needs to be a seamless integration between an energy efficient blind fabric and a high-performance intelligent control system. The more data that can be collected from sun and occupancy sensors, the more environmentally friendly the building will be.
We’ve only touched upon a few blind control options in this blog, but the possibilities are seemingly endless depending on the creativity of those driving the project, and the solar shading requirements for the building.
If you have any further questions about blind control options or would like to discuss blinds for your project, then please contact us here.