The Phifer – Weaving Excellence With Innovation
Every time I see Solar Shades, I come away fascinated by the sheer brilliance of the technology I’m sure must have gone into manufacturing the fabric used in their construction, because let’s face it, we’ve come to rely on this invention every time we think ‘solar gain’, ‘fading’, and ‘energy-saving’- all equating to sleek window styling, both for interiors and exteriors. In continuation of a series of articles I’ve put out on solar shades, I bring you ‘The Phifer Story’ to share with you the origins of how this innovative product came into being.
A state with a chequered history, Alabama has had many amazing highlights to boast, not the least being the Mardi Gras Festival that the world throngs in to be part of. Southern American states had experienced devastating outbreaks of Malaria and Dengue fever, and Encephalitis caused by mosquitoes. Eradication of mosquitoes became imminent, and one of the easiest ways to keep mosquitoes out of commercial and residential buildings was to install mosquito screens, among other significant measures that were instituted by governing bodies. This led to J. Reese Phifer incorporating a manufacturing unit to churn out innovative woven aluminum and fiberglass screens. This paved the way to allow him to capitalize on his knowledge of weaving into producing sun control screens or ‘solar screens’.
Meant for commercial and residential window applications, these woven fabrics are an innovative solution that serves to reduce heat transmission substantially – glass windows and doors are known to intensify solar gain in buildings. In addition, they preserve indoor surfaces and materials, and improve air quality of home and work environments (Phifer interior sun control fabrics are GREEN GUARD certified), thereby leading to the protection of natural resources by conserving energy (all fabrics are 100% recyclable).
Allow natural light to transform interiors by managing sun’s rays to provide a comfort achievable by using the woven fabric from Phifer, for interiors and exteriors. Use GreenGuard certified interior SheerWeave Solar Shades to add to your window style and create sleekly finished looks for interiors; use the exterior version to create comforting warmth so you can enjoy your hot cup of morning coffee while lounging on your patio with a sense of oneness with your environment.
Spearheading a range of collections in a superb palette of colors, weaves, and openness factors, Phifer’s SheerWeave line of fabrics will surely have a solution for your needs, assuring you a glare reduction of 70-100% – the color and openness factor are important features to keep in mind for both light control and energy savings:
Light vs. Dark colors – light fabric colors provide maximum light reflection, heat reduction, and illumination. Dark colors make for a fantastic exterior view while absorbing the glare of the sun, making them the superb option for viewing TV or computer screens. Be assured that the colors available go way beyond the aesthetics of decor!
The difference in Openness- the openness of a fabric refers to the structure of the weave that determines the amount of light and heat that passes through it – the tighter the weave, the more the light and heat that is blocked. The more open weave also allows for a better exterior view.
For a bird’s eye view of some of the fabrics from the Phifer range –
The original SheerWeave styles are vinyl coated in basket weaves that provide optimum opacity in 1, 3, 5, and 10% openness for the broadest range of performance.
The infinity2 is a sustainable fabric that is made of 100% recycled, PVC-free material in a basket weave of 1%, 3%, and 5% openness that allows the ultimate in conserving energy, harnessing natural light, and maintaining interior comfort levels.
For commercial areas with high traffic, Phifer has come up with the extremely durable fabric SheerWeave BASIC (3%, 5%), blended with a Fiberglass yarn that is more economical than the traditional solar screen fabrics, with tremendous acoustic benefits.
The SheerWeave Performance Plus fabrics combine the traditional performance with a thin metallic coating on the outward side to provide heat and glare reduction due to the metallic properties of reflection. These fabrics are available in a range of exciting metallic colors.
Styles 2701, 2703, 2705 and 2010 are vinyl coated fabric yarns woven in a twill pattern to create a two-sided fabric that blends the heat reduction benefits of light colors with the improve outer view and glare reduction of dark colors.
The SheerWeave with DOW ECOLIBRIUM with openness 3, 5 and 10% combines the durability of vinyl coated polyester with the latest in green PVC technology that lowers greenhouse gas emissions as much as 40%.
The style 800 with 1% visibility of vinyl coated polyester weave offers the ultimate for privacy considerations while allowing natural light in.
Graber Blinds has incorporated the SheerWeave fabric collection to create their exclusive range of LightWeaves Roller Solar Shades that are outfitted with the latest in LEED certified window automation, in addition to the traditional lift controls, in keeping with the great pains Phifer has committed to in creating an eco-friendly range of fabrics that are compliant with all regulatory norms. All Phifer fabrics are lead-free, and Microban protected for improved longevity.