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Seamless Transition of Window Dressings

The Home’s Energy Efficiency

In this day of energy efficiency and environmental protection, one is often caught between the devil and the deep blue sea – living in homes built before 2008 can be a cause of concern in many aspects, and people with young children or those who care for the disabled or the elderly, are more often than not, unconcerned about the energy efficiency of their homes, not realizing the energy savings that can be accrued with a few thoughtful changes to their homes, if not staggered changes to their homes. A lot of the time, if a home feels overly hot, humid or cold, it’s chalked down to the change in weather and the thermostat settings are adjusted accordingly, without first checking if there are any air leaks. It is critical to energy efficiency that the HVAC system is kept performing optimally. Studies have shown that the average home spends around $2,500 per year – smart decisions about ventilating, heating and cooling homes can help cut down energy costs, improve indoor comfort, and save the environment at the same time. Power plants burn fossil fuels to make electricity that releases harmful greenhouse gases into the air – using less energy at home reduces the emissions that contribute to global warming, especially as the average house is responsible for twice the greenhouse emissions as the average car!

Simple Solutions

According to studies conducted on energy efficiency for homes, you can save a good 20% of your heating and cooling costs by sealing and insulating the envelope (the outer walls, windows, ceiling and floor) of your home. Be sure to seal air leaks before insulating your home. Air leaks are easy to find because you can feel them, especially around doors and windows. Sealing holes in attics, basements and crawl spaces pose larger problems, and sealing them with caulk, spray foams or weather stripping can go a long way in improving your comfort and reducing utility bills. Usually, DIY guides are more than enough for you to follow, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, you could hand the job over to a contractor.

Assessing Your Home’s Windows

It is estimated that approximately one-third of a home’s total energy is lost through windows. Now that you have a clue as to how to seal air leaks around them, taking a look at them rather than through them can help you assess the insulation you need to adopt to make them more energy efficient. Replacing old, single pane windows with the newer and high performance, energy star windows can be a smart move to make. New windows that are double or triple paned, filled with insulation material like inert gases in between the panes, and low-emissivity coatings (low-E) substantially reduce the loss of energy from within. To further enhance the window’s performance while factoring in brightness and privacy, you need to make sensible decisions about the kind of window dressing to use. This would depend, to a large extent, on the function of a particular room, for instance, you’d need more privacy in a bedroom than you would in a living or dining room.

The Economic Verve of Cellular Shades

Conceptualized by Hunter Douglas over 30 years ago, cellular shades were designed to improve energy efficiency of a room by providing insulation to windows, rather than having to use foam backed boards or layers of batting/padding flush against windows to increase the R-value of the fenestration system. The R-value refers to how well any material resists heat loss and gain, so the higher the R-value, the higher the resistance. This means less usage of energy. Along with well-sealed windows, cellular shades provide a cool 30% savings in the energy output of a home.

The Cellular Advantage

What are cellular shades? Two layers of pleated shades are thermally glued together to form cells that act as air pockets or trap air within the cells to form a barrier between the window and the room, acting as a thermal seal – heat trappers. Also called honeycomb shades, they are constructed in single, double, and triple layers to form efficient insulation without having to bother with additional materials to improve the R-value of the window system. Cellular shades are even made with cells within cells to provide a less bulky system.
Cellular shades are typically made with spun lace or point-bonded fabric that restricts the penetration of air. They are made with light filtering, semi-opaque or room darkening, and opaque or blackout fabrics to serve a variety of brightening and darkening options, at the same time offering all the privacy that is required. For an entirely unobstructed view of the outdoors, the cellular shade needs to be retracted fully over a window; otherwise, the light filtering material provides a shadowed view of the exteriors. Cellular shades can be used practically anywhere in a house or commercial establishment.

• The Insulation Properties of Cellular Shades

Double celled blackout cellular shades enabled with side tracks that restricts airflow around the sides of a window frame and the shade can provide an R-value of 5.7 on a single pane window, 6.5 on a double pane window, 8.2 on a triple pane window, 10 being the highest R-value. A single cell blackout cellular shade would provide an R-value of 3.5 on a single pane window, 4.3 on a double pane window, and 6 on a triple pane window. These values are the highest among all window shading, making cellular shades the most powerful ally against heat and cold infiltration. Regulation of indoor temperatures was never easier – homes that are situated in both hot and cold regions can now benefit equally in energy savings, with the 3⁄8″ (1 .0 cm) double cell cocoon offering a 22% reduction in heating costs in winter, and a 56% reduction in cooling costs in summer. Unbeatable statistics!

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Not Just insulation to Cold and Heat –
Sound Insulation

Just like they block the intense of heat of the sun from entering a room, the layers of cells block the trajectory of sound waves, absorbing them before they can find purchase, muting exterior noises appreciably, and making for a calm and peaceful interior environment that is conducive to work, sleep, or the ideal AV appeal. They’re even more efficient than the heavily insulated drapes traditionally used for sound deadening.The NRC or noise reduction coefficient of cellular shades falls in a range between 0.30 to 0.60, the perfect score being 1, for both reflection and absorption of sound, which cannot be achieved unless the ceiling floor and walls are also insulated.

• Blackout
What is different about blackout cellular shades?

Blackout cellular shades are those in which the interiors of the honeycomb or hexagonal cells are covered or coated with a metalized plastic film called Mylar. This coating, sandwiched between layers of spun lace (the cocoon fabric) to form a unique barrier against the sun, ensures that 100% of the ambient light is blocked at the window. You might then ask, ‘what about the light seeking entry through the sides?’ Blackout shades wouldn’t sport the nomenclature if they weren’t equipped with side tracks whose interiors are dulled with a black pigment that absorbs any light that seeps through the edges of the blinds. The headrails and hem bar are also coated with black fuzz on the inner recesses, for the same light absorbing function. Together with the side tracks that are so well engineered to allow for smooth, trouble-free movement of the blinds, the Mylar covered cellular shades provide the best ambiance for uninterrupted sleep –

– For inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere that receives 18 hours of daylight in summer
– For night shift workers who need darkened rooms to sleep in at daytime
– For those who have ailments like Migraine that require darkness for healing

The National Sleep Foundation of both Canada and the United States of America recommends the use of Blackout Cellular Shades to phase out sleep disorders such as insomnia in adults, and to allow the Circadian Rhythm of infants to develop and fall in place.

• Contemporary and Specialty Window Styling

The Specialty Pleated Shades that made way for the more functional Cellular Shades has also enabled seamless window styles that blend into virtually every décor, modern or traditional. They also offer sensible function and style for specialty windows like the arched and angled varieties, and those humongous plate glass and double storey windows that are a primary source of heat gain and loss. Crafted from fabrics of various textures colors and prints, they offer exciting yet functional window styling that are operable!

The Only Cellular Disadvantage

The only disadvantages that the cellular shade offers are that:
– Unlike solar shades and Venetian Blinds or Shutters, Cellular shades need to be lifted all the way up a window for an unobstructed view. The light filtering fabrics they’re made of offer a shadowed view of the outdoors when deployed fully down a window.
– As the cellular shades are made of non-woven point bonded or spun lace polyester fabrics, ventilation is often restricted, especially with inoperable windows. But as the average home is HVAC enabled, fresh air is pulled in, and the indoors are kept refreshed, as specified by the Green Building Council of Canada. The non-permeability of the fabric is really no cause for concern, considering the benefits otherwise offered.

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Enter the Perfect Vue Shades!

Homeowners often struggle with dual shading systems to improve the efficiency of their window systems. This often proves cumbersome as it means that one has to operate the different shading types during times of the day. The designers at Graber have come up trumps again to address this issue with a seamless solution that provides soft filtered light during the day, and insulation and privacy at night, and blackout when needed, with the Perfect Vue Shades – a combination of the pleated and cellular system, aligned with both the sun up/sun down and the top down/bottom up features, to offer brightness, darkness, a view and privacy, all in one shade!

You have the light filtering sheer pleated shade panel attached to a room darkening or blackout panel of the single or double cell cellular shade combined together by a middle rail that is magnetized for a tight hold to the headrail or the hem bar

The Pleat Sizes

The pleated fabric of the shade is enabled to retain its integrity with the patented EvenPleat Technology, with a back ladder support that keeps the pleats evenly spaced and crisp from the top to the bottom, for years of continual use.
The Sheer Light Filtering Pleated panel comes in 1” and 2” options; while the 1”(2.6cm) pleated panel can be used with single and double cellular panels of 3⁄8″ (1.0 cm), the 2” (5.1cm) pleated panel can only be used with the single cellular panel of 3⁄4″ (1 .9 cm).

The Midrail

The Perfect Vue Shades are outfitted with a middle rail that makes for the seamless deployment of either the sheer pleated panel or the semi-opaque/opaque cellular panel down a window. The middle rail is typically color coordinated to the headrail, but if you’d prefer it to be coordinated with the hem bar, you could make a request at the time of order. The headrail matches the top fabric while the hem bar matches the bottom fabric.

The Perfect Vue controls

The Perfect Vue Shades are controlled by the –

1. Standard Cord control – the cord system that’s concealed in the headrail has the cord to the right operating the hem bar; the cord to the left operates the middle or intermediate bar. Multiple shades can be suspended on a single headrail with a standard gap of 1⁄2″ (1 .3 cm) between panels.

2. Cordless Control – is a system that’s operated with colorless handles on the hem bar and middle rail. It’s an ideal system for easily accessible windows, and for homes with children and pets, where cords could prove dangerous. Multiple shades cannot be suspended on a single headrail with the cordless system. Both sets of handle need to be used for the ease of shade control.
For those opting for the 2”pleat and 3⁄4″cellular option in the cordless system, you have the benefit of wood-wrapped rails that would match the wooden elements of your room, in six different colors, to meet with a variety of requirements.

The Fabric

Cocoon, Elegant Neutrals, Facets, Garden Retreat, Sala, Translucence, Night Sky, Solitude, Translucence, Cambridge, Simply Sheer and Scroll, in up to 60 colors, is the range of non-woven fabrics, a myriad textures and styles, used in the construction of the Perfect Vue Shades, the latest of which includes the Valletta, a rich velvety fabric that makes for exciting décor options. The fabrics used also provide protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, providing up to 99% protection against it. The perfect Vue Shades are white on the street side, offering a stylistic and uniform appearance from the curbside.

The Ultimate – Price

The Perfect Vue Shades are priced differently for the pleated and the cellular panels, and they vary based on a standard six-inch brackets; the cellular panel pricing would obviously increase depending on the number of layers you opt for, with blackout options costing more than the sheer options. A surcharge is applicable on the cordless and wood wrapped rail options, as they are specialty features.

If you were to compare the Perfect Vue with the Dual Roller Shades and the Sun Up Sun Down Cellular Shades, you would find that the Perfect Vue offers the most impressively competitive option, considering their unique benefits.
So, is there really a disadvantage to these shades? Not any that I can perceive! For the best results in insulation, use the Perfect Vue Shades as inside mounts, easily snapped into the concealed brackets provided, an inch away from the window pane.

Go for exceptional window décor this summer, with the Perfect Vue Shades from the latest line-up from Graber. Enjoy the perfect light and temperature control with fantastic acoustics that would excite the most avid music and movie aficionados, not to forget passionate writers with their muse!

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