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Shades Week: Shades in Action!

Two examples of the impact that creative automated shading systems can have on a residential space and a custom installation business.

Shades Week - Draper At Home - Logo

Draper and Hunter Douglas provide examples of how shades enhance a space and help clients be more energy efficient.

Custom Louver System Tackles Trapezoidal Window

When Peter Rosteck started renovating a post-retirement seasonal residence in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., one of the first things he noticed was the windows. That was to be expected for Rosteck, who at the time worked for a window blinds and shades dealer in Toronto.

“The renovation included replacing most of the window coverings with more contemporary sunscreen roller shade products,” says Rosteck. “But the trapezoid windows on the west facing elevation of the Living Room presented a problem.”

The windows were covered by manual vertical blinds with unsightly control chains and draw cords. “This required individual draw cords and tilt chains for each opening,” he says, “which was quite unsightly and an arduous task if you needed to open and close them on a daily basis. It was also difficult to keep all four vertical blinds in proper alignment for a uniform look.”

Obviously, a new solution was needed.

Draper FlexLouver - Before
Draper FlexLouver - After
The room before (top) and after Draper’s FlexLouver Rack Arm System was installed.

The trapezoid window shapes meant replacing them with roller shades was not out of the question, but difficult. Then Rosteck remembered Draper’s line of Solar Control Products, including the FlexLouver Rack Arm System.

“We felt the best solution would be a rack arm system with louvers that could manage solar light control in openings with unique configurations,” Rosteck says. “We also wanted this four-window section area to be covered with a single system that would have uniform light/shading control.”

The FlexLouver Rack Arm System is a non-retractable louver system for interior or exterior use. The louvers — or slats — can open and close to control solar energy, light, and glare. Each system uses standard components but is custom designed to meet the specific application requirements and window shape.

“What to do with oddly shaped glass — pyramid skylights, circular or semi-circular windows, sloped glazing systems, and more — is a headache on many projects,” said Clint Childress, director of residential markets for Draper. “Often times in situations like this the homeowner or builder will skip treatments or have a non-operable solution applied. Draper saw this situation as an opportunity to do something special. With the Flexlouver system, we think we did just that.”

The Flexlouver offers one incremental control over light while providing a solution for the headache of a window and the unwanted glare and heat that come with it.

Rosteck sent Draper a dimensional drawing outlining his plan, and the company’s drafters soon had a system custom designed to match the shape of the windows. It was just what Rosteck needed. But there was also the issue of how to open and close the louvers for maximum benefit.

“We considered crank operation but did not want to see a permanent or removable crank handle,” Rosteck says. “RF control was the best option to keep the power source simple and it eliminates the need for switch wiring.”

All in all, Rosteck says he’s pleased with the FlexLouver, saying that it works well for what is a unique window configuration. It’s a definite step up from the previous solution.

“The new FlexLouver treatment looks clean, uniform, and can be adjusted quickly with the press of a button,” Rosteck says. “[This is] a far better solution for solar shading control.”

Energizing Shade Sales with an Efficiency-First Approach

Is your client’s home energy escaping out the window? The US Department of Energy reports that windows without proper insulation can account for up to 40 percent of annual heating and cooling costs. That’s why James Roddy, the founder of Smart PNW, advocates for the energy-saving advantages of smart shades: a category that stands out in his portfolio as homeowners seek new ways to bolster home energy savings.

While Roddy and his team are experts in recommending and installing high-end blinds, shades, and window treatments, they’re also the premiere energy specialists in the Pacific Northwest. To ensure true energy efficiency gains, the team is well-versed in code-compliance blower door tests, energy audits, and home remodels.

Hunter Douglas - IRA Tax Credit - Duette Honeycomb Shades
The AERC-certified Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb Shades’ patented cellular design is engineered to insulate up to 80 percent of unwanted solar heat at the window and deliver up to 15 percent energy bill savings annually.

“We typically go into a home looking for ways to make it more environmentally economical, completing air leakage and thermal camera testing beforehand, then recommend products to enhance efficiency based on our findings,” explains Roddy. “Smart window treatments allow us to enhance beauty, comfort, and convenience while also elevating efficiency.”

Roddy had some non-negotiable expectations for the right shade partner. The shades needed to be truly energy efficient, backed by credible studies, and certified by the Department of Energy. The shades also needed to be interoperable, working within smart home ecosystems to enhance whole-home functionality. Finally, the shades needed to be high-quality and customizable to suit any space.

Smart PNW found its triple threat with Hunter Douglas: Joining the Custom Integrator Program, Roddy had the support of a trusted pillar in the shading market that would allow him to capture all these specializations. With access to a portfolio of customizable, functional, and energy-efficient window treatments, a plethora of training resources, and a comprehensive mobile sales tool — The Link — Smart PNW was prepared to take a stance as a leader in automated window treatments and energy-efficient solutions.

Integrators have long enjoyed the Hunter Douglas PowerView platform’s robust automation, offering control through the newly redesigned PowerView App and home systems like Control4, Crestron, and more. For Smart PNW, the flagship, AERC-certified Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb Shades were another selling point. The patented cellular design is engineered to insulate up to 80 percent of unwanted solar heat at the window and deliver up to 15 percent energy bill savings annually.

In addition to an AERC stamp of approval, Duette Honeycomb Shades are eligible for up to a $1200 credit through the Inflation Reduction Act’s Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit incentive. As integrators highlight the advantages of smart shades to eco-conscious homeowners, this incentive offers a major selling point.

With Hunter Douglas, Smart PNW won over the Pacific Northwest market without a hitch: “To have as much interest in shading as we did from inception really proves the value for our customers,” says Roddy. “With Hunter Douglas, we had the resources to ramp up and meet the demand right out of the gate and I’m confident we’ll be able to continue serving the market as we grow.”