Across the UK, people and organisations are wondering about the best way to shade rooms during the current heatwave. Lots are trying all sorts of Heath Robinson solutions – some throw towels over the window, others restrict themselves to certain parts of the building.
The climate crisis means extreme temperatures are likely to become more common, so we’ve put together this guide to some of the more practical and permanent solutions for your projects.
External blinds cut out most solar gain
Solar gain is the main reason for uncomfortable internal environments. The best way to eliminate this is to use an external blind, which prevents much of the heat getting through to the glass, let alone into the room. Indeed, the recently introduced Part O Building Regulations stipulate external blinds should be used to reduce solar gain on all new-build residential projects. Our Specification Manager, Richard Webb, has written about the impact of Part O on new buildings.
A blind such as ShadeTech EZB external roller blind can be equipped with the latest metallised blind fabric to keep occupants cool in the warmest of conditions. Suitable for both new build and retrofit projects, the EZB can be installed without damaging existing structures. Normally, heatwaves mean very little wind, but an EZB is very durable and windproof up to Beaufort level six.
Other well-placed external structures will also shade the building, reducing the inside temperature. For more information on external structures and how to choose the right one, see here.
Internal metallised blinds
Internal blind performance can be vastly improved by using a metallised fabric, created by coating the blind with a thin layer of aluminium. The metallised surface is installed facing the glazing and can reflect up to 82% of the solar energy entering the building through the glass.
Waverley offers a host of high-performance fabrics, from many manufacturers.
High performance curtain fabrics
If curtains have been specified rather than blinds at the window, what are the best curtain fabrics to protect against heatwaves?
Layered, multiple-weave fabrics with blackout properties offer the best thermal reduction (as well as keeping more light out than most). Waverley supplier Creation Baumann offers a range of 140 ‘Glare&Heat’ protection fabrics.
Optimum usage of blinds / curtains
In general, when the temperature is hotter outside than it is inside, it’s wise to keep blinds down/curtains closed and the window closed too. Once the external temperature is reduced, later in the day, the window can be opened but the blinds and curtains should remain closed.
Feel free to contact us if you are planning any commercial, premium residential or hospitality projects and would like further advice on keeping people cool inside, or indeed outside, the building.