Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is "Top Down/Bottom Up?"

Q: I keep seeing the term “top down bottom up”. What does that mean? Thanks

A: Top Down/Bottom Up refers to a control option on some window shades and blinds that allows the user to either lower the top portion of the blind or raise the bottom. Many times both the bottom and top can be raised and lowered simultaneously, giving you even greater control over the natural light in your room.

Top down/bottom up shades do not require any special mounting or tools, and look and function much like ordinary shades and blinds. Simply leave the top of the blind flush against the top mount to give the appearance of a regular shade. This allows you to manipulate the shade from the window sill (pulling it from the “top down”).

You can also leave the bottom flush against the sill and manipulate the top (expanding the shade from the “bottom up”). This is perfect for when you still want sunlight but not glaring sun at sunrise or sunset.

Many cellular shades come with the top down/bottom up option as do some Roman shades.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Energy Saving Shades for Big Windows

Q: Hi, I just finished building my house and have tried to make it a little bit “greener” by finding ways to conserve energy. We're using tankless water heaters, have put energy-efficient insulation in the walls and attic, and have designed the house to maximize solar energy in the winter. On that note, I'd like to find shades for some of my large windows that are beautiful but still save energy. Any suggestions?

A: Cellular shades are designed to be both beautiful as well as energy efficient. When drawn closed, small pockets of air expand to provide elegant but effective insulation on any window and even come in multiple layers of “cells” depending on how much insulation you need.

Cellular shades are versatile, too. Not only do they help retain warmth in the winter and keep out solar heat in the summer, they also buffer noise and light. Cellular shades (also known as honeycomb shades) come in a wide range of colors to match any d├ęcor and also come in light-diffusing and room-darkening options.

For those large windows, you may also want to consider opting for a motorized or remote-controlled cellular shade. Just push a button and raise or lower the shade whenever you want. Convenience and energy-efficiency all in one!