Cellular Shades beyond the Confines of a Home
There are cat women, dog people, animal lovers and the sort, but Evelyn was called the plant lady. Ever since she was a little girl, every plant she planted bloomed gracefully, she had a green thumb. Having a patch of green was as imperative for her existence as Wi-Fi was for others of her generation. Gardening was therapeutic for it helped calm her mind, especially after a tiring week. Being a botanist, Evelyn knew full well that the industry made gardening a treatment, Horticulture therapy it was called, but it didn’t take a genius to figure that out. Her favourite plant was Lavender, and for good reason too. Lavender is known for its mood elevation and calming abilities, it was so relaxing that a few drops of Lavender oil on your pillow will send you into a deep slumber.
She spread green wherever she went, be it her tiny vegetable patch in her first studio apartment, her window farm in college or her elaborate garden and mini greenhouse at her humble abode in Missouri. There are several advantages to having a greenhouse, especially for a plant lover since it comes with the pleasure of being able to enjoy plants that wouldn’t stand a chance in the local climate. Plants in a greenhouse aren’t subjected to the same degree of the temperature variation as plants grown in outdoor gardens, keeping the plants safe from unforeseen weather conditions like blizzards and soil eroding rains. This is possible by creating a micro climate, as the glass walls trap heat within the house maintaining an appropriate temperature for the plants. Apart from extending the growing season of the plants, this assimilated environment also keeps the plants safe from dangers they’d otherwise be prone to outside, like insects, rodents and other animals that damage plants. This allowed her to enjoy organic produce free from the dangerous pesticides and chemicals commercial farms can’t survive without.
Since it was a closed environment, ventilation was crucial. Evelyn installed a high vent on the west side and one at the bottom of the east side to make full use of the region’s easterly winds, blowing in cool air and flushing out warm toxic air. This setup worked for a while, but Evelyn noticed the summers getting hotter as the years went by, killing a lot of her plants. With this summer it came to a point where she might as well be baking cakes in her greenhouse, she had to do something. Typically, one would use shade cloth, a loosely woven polyester material that is thrown over greenhouse roofs for insulation during summer, but Evelyn thought this to be quite shabby. She wanted a neat look, plus shade cloths would have to be manually pulled on and off, she wouldn’t be able to single-handedly do that, it was too much of hassle.
During her research for insulation options on the internet, she found that window treatments like shades and blinds were used for insulation in greenhouses as well. One product that stood out was cellular window shades as they ranked the highest in terms of insulation. These shades had a honeycomb design that trapped air within them, keeping the interiors warm when cold and cool when warm. Plus, there was the option of double cell cellular shades. She could leave the shades up during the morning so that the house could trap the required amount of heat and lower them during the afternoon when the sun is at its peak, and keep them closed through the night so that the warmth stays within. They were also shades primarily designed for skylights, so she could have these installed on the glass roof.
She choose room darkening shades for the glass ceiling with maximum openness so as to mimic the shade cloth generally used for greenhouses. These shades, designed principally for privacy and light control, have higher opacities that darken a room but don’t block out the sun entirely. And for the glass walls she picked sheer/ sun filtering cellular fabrics, which were translucent fabrics designed to cut out harmful UV rays and glare. With maximum openness, the plants would still get enough light and not cooked. She also had the option of picking a two-sided fabric that had a lighter tone on the outside that reflected heat rays, with a darker tone on the inside to reduce glare.
These shades were Green Guard certified which meant that they had no chemical emissions and was lead-free, keeping her precious plants safe. Since humidity played a primary role in ensuring healthy growth and preventing plant diseases, the shades would be subjected to microbes and would deteriorate over time. Thankfully, the shades came with a Microban protection that inhibited the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew that cause stains and odour that degrade the fabric.
Although these shades were originally made for houses, they seemed to conveniently fit the requirements of a greenhouse. For example, even though the skylight shades were in hard to reach places, she needn’t worry because these shades had the option of the Virtual Cord system. This system allowed you to control your shades via a remote within a radius of 65 ft. This made it so much easier as the shades had to be continually opened or closed depending on the weather. This system also had a light sensor that would automatically lower of raise the shades according to the light outside. Plus, the shades could be set to raise and lower itself according to a pre-set schedule.
After installing her window treatments, she saw a noticeable change. Her plants started to look healthier, and optimum temperatures were easier to maintain with these versatile window treatments.