Question

What companies sell solar shades and blackouts made from non toxic materials?

Asked by Lucyna
New York, NY

Solar shades can be motorized or manual, they need to block UV rays for an apartment surrounded by windows that receives a lot of sun glare. The blackout is for the same apt and would be needed for watching TV.

Answer

Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

March 6, 2012

Dear Lucyna,

Kudos to you for considering a sustainable window covering for your abode.

As you mentioned there are motorized (hardwired and battery operated) blinds as well as manually operated blinds. Cost and ability to tear up the walls of your apartment to wire for motorized blinds will determine which operation method is right for you.

Recommended selection criteria

When selecting window coverings, I recommend you look for the following four characteristics:

1. Solar transmittance: the sum of solar radiation (a measure of heat gain from the sun) and solar isolation (a measure of the ability to limit the movement of solar radiation). The lower the measureable number the less again you experience;

2. Solar reflectance: a measure of a surface's ability to reflect solar energy. Unlike solar transmittance, the higher the number the greater the ability to reflect away the sun’s energy keeping the interior of the space cool;

3. Solar absorbance: a measure of heat transfer. The lower the number, the less heat a substance will absorb – think white roofs; and

4. Visual Transmittance: the measure of visual light passing through a material. The higher the number the more transmittance.

Non-toxic certifications

As for toxicity of window covering materials, look for products that have been certified.

The following is a partial list of third party certifications that are applicable to window blinds:

Products that meet these certifications

The following is a brief selection of companies that market window coverings that have one or more of the above certifications:

1. Blinds Chalet

2. Earthshade

3. Lutron

4. MechoShade

Not all blind products from each supplier are environmentally sensitive. When you are reviewing your choices, look for the certification logos mentioned above as well as similar qualifiers such as “PVC-free”.

Good luck!

 

For more information:

Read "Can you recommend solar window blinds that are not made of PVC?" a Q&A answered by Maggie Wood.

Tagged In: window coverings

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