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A space for socialising on Level 11 at CityPoint in London

Using high-performance blind fabrics to improve workplace productivity

By: Category: External Blinds

2023 saw major companies place a big emphasis on employees returning to the office on a more frequent basis.

Apple launched an employee attendance tracker to ensure staff were in the office at least three days a week. Zoom, meanwhile, told staff to return to the office for a minimum of two days a week.

And the consensus within the A&D industry is this trend will continue throughout 2024.

With that in mind, its imperative for architects to specify the correct solar shading fabric, to ensure our workspaces are designed with occupant productivity in mind.

In this blog, we explain how consideration for the four areas below will allow them to do this:

  • Solar heat gain
  • Glare
  • View to the outside
  • The solution

Solar heat gain

Solar heat gain is the build-up of internal heat caused by the amount of solar radiation passing through the glazing.

Sunset at 150 Holborn with metallised blinds covering the window

Measured by the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which we discuss in greater detail here, heat gain has a significant impact on our productivity levels.

In fact, a study conducted in California found how a 2% increase in internal temperature, caused by solar heat gain, resulted in an 8% decline in productivity levels.

So, what are the key things to consider when using high-performance blind fabrics to deal with heat gain?

  • The openness of the weave
  • Colour of the fabric
  • Reflectance value (Rv)
  • Absorption value (As)


The second issue to consider is the impact of glare.

Alongside our productivity levels, glare also has a significant impact on our health if left uncontrolled.

A 2020 report by journalist Barbara Horwitz-Bennett identified how 49% of 400 employees had been affected by glare, with issues ranging from becoming distracted to eye pain and headaches.

Furthermore, this is backed up by a separate study which highlights how “glare alone decreases performance by up to 21%.”

A view of the RHS Hilltop building from the gardens with the high performance blind fabrics shading the windows inside

When combatting glare through high-performance solar shading fabrics, the three areas below require significant thought:

  • The openness of the weave
  • Colour of the fabric
  • Light transmittance value (Tv)

View to the outside

While a view to the outside may not be as obvious as the previous two areas, this has a profound impact on our health, wellbeing and productivity.

According to the World Construction Network, studies show how natural daylight and a view to the outside increases “worker satisfaction and productivity while slashing energy costs.”

Roller blinds on a sloped façade at CityPoint in London

And high-performance blind fabrics play a crucial role in providing this. Similarly to glare, the fabric considerations here are:

  • The openness of the weave
  • Colour of the fabric
  • Light transmittance value (Tv)

The solution

So, how can architects find a solution that sufficiently deals with solar heat gain and glare whilst providing a view to the outside?

Through metallised blind fabrics.

Metallised blind fabrics have a very thin layer of reflective aluminium coated on the back of the blind fabric.

This reflective backing significantly reduces the transmission of light and heat passing through the yarns by reflecting solar energy back out of the building. In fact, SilverScreen® fabric can reflect up to 85% of the solar energy entering the building and is the highest performing fabric of its kind.

By using a metallised blind fabric, architects have the opportunity to create stunning interior spaces with a shading system that does not compromise the view to the outside and combats glare and heat gain.

If you’d like to learn more about metallised fabrics, or solar shading in general, visit our RIBA-CPD page to view our three accredited presentation options.

Alternatively, you can contact our expert team here.

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