Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Solar Shades Explained

Q: You mentioned solar shades in a recent blog post. Could you please explain more about them? How do they work? What options are there?

A: Solar shades are designed to reduce direct sun and glare but still preserve views outside the window. Much like movable car shades used to shade the backseat of vehicles, solar shades are flat pieces of material with openings to allow limited light through . While this light certainly helps illuminate the room, it also gives you access to the views (much like how car shades still give you access to your blind spot).

The type and size of these openings is known as an “Openness Factor” and relates to how much of the actual surface area is comprised of small open sections. Smaller openness factors are better at reducing direct sun and provide a more diffused light into the room. The views with these shades, however, are limited due to the opacity of the shade. Greater openness factors, on the other hand, allow more light to come in and give more access to views.

The best thing about solar shades is that they come in a wide range of colors to suit both your needs and your style. You can also combine them with traditional drapes for versatile lighting solutions. Keep in mind though, while solar shades are ideal for light control, they are not ideal for privacy.

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