Solar Shades

roller blinds

Solar Shades

AKA Solar Screens or Sun Screens

If you’re thinking about solar shades it’s probably for one of three reasons: 1) reduce glare coming through a window,2)  reduce heat coming into the house, or 3) cut costs on AC.

If your goal is to reduce the glare I suggest getting a dark colored inside solar shade with a tight weave.  Reducing glare is about blocking out the light more than the heat.  The darker colored shade will make the house a little hotter, but the tight weave and having the shade outside will make up for this.  The dark color helps to block out more light than a light colored shade.  And the tighter the weave the less light will come through.  Tightness of a weave on a shade is measured in openness percentage with 0% being no light coming through.  If you want to be able to see outside and you’re not going for a totally dark room you may want to up the openness percentage to something higher like 10-25%.  When it comes to glare, shades are better than blinds because they don’t have the beams of lights coming in between blinds.  There is considerable more privacy while still allowing you to see out through shades.  People who are trying to reduce glare are doing it because light coming into the house will bounce off of glass surfaces, like the TV, making it difficult to see. The amount of light coming in is referred to as the shading coefficient.solar2

Now if your primary goal is to reduce heat I would go with a tight weave, light color, outside the home.  The lighter color better reflects the sunlight helping the house to stay cool.  You can have shades inside the home, but outside shades better reflecting heat.  Outside shades should be able to reduce heat in the range of 80%-90% while indoor shades can only get up to 70%.  The reason has to do with the sun hitting the glass and coming into the house, and then hitting the shade.  By this point the heat is in the house and being trapped between the shade and the glass.  However, an outside shade stops the heat from entering in the first place.  Less heat can mean a cooler room and more comfortable work conditions for a business or home.  The tighter the weave the more heat block.  If you want to see the outside view more, you simply raise the openness percentage of the weave.  You can limit heat gain by up to 90% with outside solar shades.  You’re not just reducing heat and glare.  You’re also reducing UV radiation which flashes the color out of your furniture and carpet.solar1

If your primary goal is to reduce cost, then you’re going to want to follow the rules of heat reduction: tight weave, light color, outside home.  Why? Because the less heat that comes in the home the less you pay on your AC bill to cool the home back down.  In this way a solar shade can pay for itself.  As shades go, solar shades are relatively cheap.  However, the outside/ more effective shades are a little more expensive.  It’s worth the difference in price for the long term money saving in the long run.  A common mistake here is that people will find a deal on solar shades which they install outside their home.  You’re thinking, isn’t that what you told me to do?  Well, yes and no.  What I mean is they find inside shades and install them outside.  Being fooled by the cheaper prices they think they’re getting a deal.  However, outside shades are specifically needed because they are made of more durable materials.  The outside shades must deal with the elements.  They’re easier to clean and simple to use and take very little maintenance.  So make sure you’re getting an outside shade for your outside solar screen. Also, outside shades don’t change the look of your home whereas inside shades are a part of the decorating.solar3

Finally the appearance of these types of shades.  They usually roll up from the bottom into a nice tight roll at the top of the window.  They can be motorized for tall buildings, large windows, or just if you want to be able to remotely open them without going outside.  They’re very easy to operate.  If you live in AZ this may be one of the first types of money saving shades you consider.  Call us today to learn more about your options at 602-418-1429.

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