What would we do Without Windows?
I’m sure that at some time or the other, everybody has given in to that deep inner yearning to pack up a duffle with the basics and just hit the road, to leave the daily travails behind, to be one with nature! To just plain get away! The intoxicating feel of being connected with the locals of a place, sampling the local fare, chatting with a fellow traveller, possibly facing inconveniences with complete strangers – this, then, folks, is something of the high we all yearn for, at some juncture of our lives! And the avid traveller would tell you that it’s the elixir of life.
“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
– John Steinbeck
That’s a bit of a paradox from Steinbeck, but the ethos remains – one of being transported to otherwise unimagined realms of life. After all, isn’t it better to get out and engage in something new rather than moon about at home, if that’s all you can do on a weekend? Hit the road, say the experts. Feel the wind. And how much does it cost? Just as much as you want to spend. An impromptu trip is just what the doctor ordered – no planning, no bookings, no shopping beforehand. Just up and leave. Follow your nose. Stop at a roadside inn. Or camp, if you have the equipment.
And the benefits? The fresh air, the sounds of birds chirping, eating simple food, no ego hassles when you meet strangers, being awash in the sun……the stuff of dreams! Take obscure routes. Everybody has GPS these days, there’s no way you can get lost.
Off the Beaten Track
Whether you’re riding of driving, be ready for surprises on road trips – you can encounter wild animals if you’re on an off-beat path. For Frank, who has travelled extensively across the globe over four decades, travelling is akin to manna. “I enjoy getting on the road every six to eight weeks. The travel is at the most for a week, after that I want to get home. For me, the best part of being on the road is meeting new people and discovering new eating places. I love to experiment with different kinds of food,” he says. Travel has also helped him understand people better. “I love to start conversations with people. I wasn’t always like this – that has come from my travels. I enjoy a good conversation, not just small talk, but on topics like religion, politics, food, travel. I like to see what makes people tick,” he elaborates. And as an echo to what Steinbeck said, the distance and time are inconsequential – it’s all about the journey.
The Eco-friendly Traveller
Sustainability is no more just a word. For lots of people, including a large percentage of American Travellers, it’s a way of life. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, 43 million people in the US are eco-conscious travelers who are willing to pay 8.5 percent more to environmentally sensitive travel suppliers. A survey of U.S. travellers found 87 percent would be more likely to stay at “green” properties.
I recently had the misfortune of being accompanied by a ‘spoilt’ rich person who expected to be picked up after, not bothered about how much water was wasted, in spite of notices put up appealing to people’s civic sense like, “Water is a precious resource. Please avoid a bubble bath” or “Utilize daylight and save energy to preserve our planet”. The lady walked into her room and put o all the lights despite the fact that it was broad daylight outside, not bothering to open the drapes.
Green hotels strive hard to propagate sustainable practices (hoping for better returns in the long run) and hope that the faith they place on travellers is not misplaced, and that people will ultimately cooperate. In keeping with green business practices, they avoid frivolity and stick to timeless styles and designs using premium materials for surfaces and finishes that last well beyond the typical hospitality usefulness. In addition to using Energy Star rated equipment like televisions, heating and cooling systems and refrigeration units, green hospitality units use products with low volatile organic chemical (VOC) ratings that are GreenGuard or other reputed testing agency certified. They use fabrics and materials that are sustainable and naturally flame retardant rather than use chemical flame retardants that off-gas.
Green hotels are rabid about recycling existing waste whenever and wherever possible rather than transport it all to a landfill. They also have recycle bins with separation compartments in guest rooms for waste management at the source.
Sustainable Window Treatments
Green hotels, then, would naturally use sustainable window dressings that would allow guests to contribute to energy efficiency by managing natural light with the use of motorized window shades and blinds, making it easy to brighten a room with natural or daylight. When combined with smart sensors and controls, these window coverings can be programmed to close as the guest leaves a room to prevent solar gain and heat loss, depending on the time of day, and open on their return, maintaining comfortable interior temperatures without creating a load on the HVAC.
Graber and Norman have made Motorization available in practically all styles or their window dressings, even for the Graber drapery collections. Even wood and faux wood blinds, aluminum mini blinds, and shutters are equipped with automation that makes it possible to control the position of vanes to control the amount of light entering a room, even helping to direct light to dark corners if necessary. This is an important innovation that –
• Cuts down on energy requirements
• Controls interior fading, preserving resources for long periods
• Allows interior plants to thrive
• Provides privacy when required
• Seamlessly controls glare while watching TV or working on a computer,
• And last but not least, provides darkness to nap during the day – an important consideration for holidayers.
From mall of us at Zebrablinds, have a great, green, spur-of-the-moment summer holiday on the road!