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Energy Efficient Homes Window Shade Automation

Window Shade Automation

“Energy efficiency is a way of managing and restraining the growth in energy consumption. Something is more energy efficient if it delivers more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input. For example, when a compact florescent light (CFL) bulb uses less energy (one-third to one-fifth) than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light, the CFL is considered to be more energy efficient.” International Energy Agency




Improved energy efficiency for everyday functioning is a common goal among many governments around the world in order to reduce energy costs and investment in energy infrastructure, lowering fossil fuel dependency and CO2 emissions while increasing competitiveness and improving consumer welfare.



The Energy Summit 2015, on the 4th and 5th of November, in London, is expected to bring together global leaders – Presidents and Prime Ministers, Economists, Oil Industry Leaders, Executives in the Power, Utility and Renewable Sectors, Policy Makers and Academics in an attempt to thrash out the future of the energy business. The insane drop in oil prices in the last year has prompted frenzied debates about what it could mean for the global energy future.



But will it solve the conundrum of Global warming? South America, Cuba to be precise, has just witnessed a big enough earthquake and tsunami that has set them back by millions of dollars, not least the unspeakable loss of life. I suppose the world has always witnessed natural calamities, but one can’t deny that they’re happening a lot more often now.



A Vicious Cycle

Get this –

The volume of waste in landfills, a major source of the potent greenhouse gas methane, was grossly underestimated in the United States in 2012, researchers said Monday, with 262 million tons of garbage – more than double the national estimate by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) – dumped in landfills. This also means that the amount of methane emissions from the decomposition of the waste was also undercounted.



Landfills represent one of the three largest man-made source of methane in the United States; though methane remains in the atmosphere for a shorter duration than CO2, the most abundant greenhouse gas, it traps a lot more of the heat radiated from the earth’s surface.
Capture and Combustion of Landfill Gas (LFG) is crucial to the national strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GFG), as the average rate of landfill waste disposal is increasing by 0.3% annually.



“Improving the collection of LFG at open landfills, must be a target for policymakers, researchers and practitioners to achieve near-term GHG emission reductions in the waste sector,” says the study
Also, greenhouse gas emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost could result in an additional $43 trillion) in costs by the year 2200. Permafrost — perennially frozen ground covering about a quarter of exposed land in the northern hemisphere — contains an estimated 1.7 trillion tonnes of carbon in the form of frozen organic matter, which releases carbon dioxide and methane as it decomposes.
As the planet warms, more permafrost thaws to release more greenhouse gasses, thus feeding into a vicious climate circle.



Are we really making any headway in this era of energy crisis, or is it just some hogwash drummed out by politicians to keep environmentalists at bay? Looking at the above data published by all the major news agencies last week, it really doesn’t look very hopeful for us ordinary mortals. But we must endeavor to do our responsible bit so that our children can make use of the earth’s resources while finding better ways to move forward. And isn’t that what life is ultimately about?



Volkswagen’s “Defeat Device”


But it looks that the ordinary man is thwarted in the resolve to help improve the energy crisis. After the economic crisis of 2008 that stopped Detroit in its tracks, encouraging the manufacture of more compact and energy efficient cars in the United States –



“My hope is that we will see both GM and Chrysler having emerged from this restructuring process leaner, meaner, more competitive with a set of product lines that appeal to consumers good cars that are fuel efficient and that look at the markets of tomorrow,” Mr Obama said –



2015, this week, has witnessed an astonishing debacle in the form of malpractices by Volkswagen in its attempt to put low emitting vehicles on the road, world over. Dubbed the “diesel dupe”, the German car giant has admitted cheating emissions tests in the US. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some cars being sold in America had devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results.



“Volkswagen called them ‘clean diesels’,” branding them as the fun-to-drive alternatives to hybrids as it dominated the U.S. market for the engine technology. Turns out the increasingly eco-conscious buyers of the sporty German cars have been unwittingly pumping smog into the air — because of software VW installed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. The world’s largest automaker has admitted selling 482,000 such diesels since 2009, California, and U.S. regulators announced Friday. The scandal could cost the company billions of dollars in fines and lawsuit judgments and threatens to stunt the development of all diesel vehicles”, reports Jerry Hirsch of the Los Angeles Times.




It seems the common man is at the loser’s end once again!

Pope Francis’s Demand for the UN to Respect Rights of Environment Over ‘Thirst for Power’


Pope Francis, the first ever pope to address the US Congress just a day earlier, affirmed the rights of the environment in a forceful speech to the United Nations. “It must be stated that a true ‘right of the environment’ does exist,” Francis said.
An attack on the environment was an assault on the rights and living conditions of the most vulnerable, he said, warning that at its most extreme, environmental degradation threatened humanity’s survival.
“Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity,” Francis said. “The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity can threaten the very existence of the human species,” he concluded.



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Automated Window Shading and Energy Efficiency

Luckily, there are a few things still within our control – such as how much water we use, what fertilizer we use, composting in our backyards, recycling materials, optimizing daylight to cut down the load on our heating systems.
Smart home technology is seductive to even the most technologically phobic human there is. Imagine the lights coming on with greater and greater intensity as the day darkens to night, especially if you’re caught up in a task that needs no distractions, one that’s as mundane as getting up to put on the lights and lowering shades or closing blinds for privacy! Add to this the fact that you get back from the government for using LEED certified products for sustainable designs, automation is the way to go!
The LEED prerequisite for ‘Energy and Atmosphere’ states that a 10% optimization in energy efficiency on existing building performance by employing techniques such the use of automated shading and lighting systems earns credits up to 19 points – which amounts to savings up to 12% for new buildings and 8% for existing buildings.
“All exterior openings, such as windows, must have shielding that can be automatically controlled and programmed to close from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Shielding options include automatic shades that have less than 10% transmittance. An example is a timer-controlled automated rolling shade with the appropriate light transmittance.” in accordance with Credit 8, relating to Light Pollution reduction.
Automated window shading and blinds comprise some of the hottest home products for the savvy home owner wanting to maximize on energy savings. Enterprises like the Springs Window Fashions (SWF) and Norman Window Fashion offer state of the art automated solutions for virtually all types of window shading, from automated Shutters and Blinds, to fabric shades such as Roller Shades, Cellular Shades and Roman Shades.




Dedicated Automated Shading Systems

Automated window shading can comprise part of a complete home automation system, or can be added room by room, depending on budget constraints, where each room can be programmed to run its own scene in terms of its utility. For example, if one has a dedicated media room, motorized shades can be programmed to cover windows to block the washout effects of the sun on a TV screen. Double storey windows are featured in homes to provide unique aesthetics as they capture natural light. But this tends to be a pain to manage, especially with manually operated shading, often requiring ladders to reach them. This is where an automated shading control reigns supreme! Another place they offer pleasing functionality is for the bedrooms – having shades rise as the alarm goes off is an excellent way to chase away the lingering effects of the sleep-inducing melatonin. And of course, the place to show off – the living room! Window shading can be programmed to offset architectural features to their best advantage, bathed in natural light or shaded for effect!




Revolutionizing home comfort control by employing radio technology, this Omni-directional system can be used within a range of 65 feet, with remotes or wireless wall switches, needing no line of sight, to control shades singly or in groups. Add to this the wireless sun sensors that can be mounted on window panes or sills, to help save energy and reduce heat gain/loss depending on seasonal preferences and protect furnishings from damaging UV rays automatically. Shading can also be scheduled to rise and lower at pre-determined intervals with the use of timers, working in sync with the sensor. This system can be synchronized with a smartphone or tablet app for virtual control



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The Virtual Cord

This new automated technology for smooth operations of pleated and cellular shades to make them even more energy efficient makes it a vital component in the making of a smart home. Every shade is enabled with the virtual cord control that uses the new innovative protocol featuring simple, intuitive operations, a clean and compact design with an integrated antenna, LED feedback on shade end caps and controls, powered by batteries or a low-profile plug-in transformer, also offering an optional single-channel control. Its integrated battery case is designed to accommodate shallow mounting depths (only 0.75-inch clearance required), needing no additional drilling as it attaches to the shade with a bracket before shade installation. The integrated LED controls ensure that the shade need never be taken down to sync with a new remote, and can still be controlled by its end caps even if the remote is lost.



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The PerfectTilt RF by Norman Window Fashions

Norman, the masters of innovation, have introduced the award-winning radio frequency enabled automation for their shutters. The sleek touch remote features six vane positions you can opt from, in coordination with a single or group of shutters to be controlled. You can also enable them with an e-time through an appropriate web interface you can connect with on the Norman website.
Users must be advised that specialty features such as the TopDown BottomUp (TDBU), SunUp SunDown are not yet automated. I’m sure the design and engineering specialists employed at window shading enterprises will soon come up with seamless functions for all features. Look at the inroads made in less than a decade, so much so that people aren’t yet ready for them!
Let us do our bit for the planet. Use resources available intelligently to ensure less CO2 is emitted, so that our natural systems can continue to work their magic for future generations too. Log on to for awesome deals on automated window shading. And hope that all the big wigs heed the Pontiff’s clarion call for saving the planet earth.



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