There are few products on the market we can use to beat the heat and light. First, we need to identify what the main source of the heat is. Is it because it’s getting hotter in the room, or is there too much light that’s bringing in convected heat (you feel like you’re getting hotter)? Two types of window coverings are designed specifically to address those issues: Honeycomb Shades and Roller Shades with a solar fabric.
Honeycomb (or cellular) shades are insulating and are great for south facing windows in the summer. They act the same as the insulation in your home. Insulation is a property of how much air space is between the materials. So the more air space you have between the materials, the better the insulation. They are also available in multiple cell sizes: single, double, and triple cells. The more cells, the higher the insulation value that prevents the heat from traversing through the fabric and into the room. This insulation also helps in the winter as well, keeping the cold air out and the warm air in your home.
You can also use a blackout version of the honeycomb shades. These provide more light blocking. If you purchase blackout honeycomb shades, you’ve got the best of both worlds at keeping heat and light to a minimum through your window.
Honeycomb shades are great for the home. With the insulating value, it can help lower the utility bill. The availability in multiple color choices also helps give your home a custom look and feel. This is a great product to use to beat the heat in the summer time.
This type of shade with the solar fabric is great at reflecting light out of the room. And that light is what can bring heat into the room. Roller shades can made with many different types of fabric, including the ability to print images or text on them. But only using a solar fabric will help with light reflection, and thereby help with heat gain.
The beauty of a roller shade with a solar fabric is that it gives you some ability to see out of the window. So depending on how tight the weave is (the relationship of openness, how tightly the product is weaved together), you’ll have more or less visibility through the window. The lower the percentage, the less visibility and the less light you’ll bring in the room. The higher the percentage, the more visibility and more light is allowed to come in. When it comes to heat, a low grade Roller Shade at 1% or 3% fabric will offer about the same amount of heat control as the light blocking features of a blackout shade. So if you have a room with a view, roller shades can help keep the light out and keep the view visible through the shade.
Over 90% of our commercial customers have changed to roller shades from other competitive products. Here in Colorado specifically, because the sun is so powerful, a 1% or 3% fabric is typically used in commercial applications because it keeps the light out and yet maintains some of our great views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Another thing to note, roller shades do not insulate. So while they do keep light out of the room which removes some of the heat, they can’t insulate in the same way as a honeycomb shade. Roller shades can help beat the heat when it comes to light reflection. On the reverse side of things, cold can become a problem in the winter since there’s no insulating value to a roller shade.
Shades and Privacy
There’s an important distinction between these two products concerning privacy. Solar shades do not provide privacy because of the open weave. So you’ll want to keep in mind to not use solar shades where privacy is a concern, like a bathroom, bedroom, or community area. Because they are open and let some light in, wherever you have the highest concentration of light will be visible from the darker side. For example, when it’s brighter outside than it is inside, those inside will be able to see out. But if it’s darker outside than inside, those outside will be able to see in. Honeycomb shades do not allow this to happen. They provide a much better margin of privacy even though they can allow some light to filter through them.