The selection of shades and blinds is no longer only about design, color, privacy, and sun control.
The homeowner now has to consider technology and “green” materials, which were two major themes at the recent International Window Coverings Expo: VISION 2011 in Las Vegas, where exhibitors offered a number of ways to create a healthier, more efficient living space.
Control Lighting, Blinds, and More from Anywhere in the World
“Smart home” technology was well represented at the Show.Somfy's TaHomA, for instance, is a home automation system that enables users to control window products, such as motorized shades and awnings, as well as lights and even thermostats, by using wireless technologies. In addition to balancing natural and artificial lighting, homeowners can control, schedule and supervise their lighting, window covering, and climate-control devices from anywhere in the world.
Another exhibitor, Qmotion, specializes in technology for motorizing shades, either manually or with a remote control, and its Home Manager ST product enables Web-based programming of shades. And Rollease presented a number of ways to make blind and shade adjustments easier, including its SilentPin motorized system. Most importantly, technology is not just about automation - the motorized shade setups and many other shade-adjustment solutions also do away with cords, which, in the past, have either gotten all tangled up or caused safety problems with small children.
Eco-friendly Window Treatments
When it comes to green products, options for window treatments keep expanding. Vertilux offers products with its EcoVision and Vision lines of roller, vertical, and pleated shade fabrics. Both the EcoVision line, which is 100% polyester and PvC/formaldehyde free, and the Vision fabrics, made of polyester and PVC, are now Greenguard Certified - a positive development for air quality inside the home - and the 100% recyclable fabrics are treated to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and other allergens. Vertilux also offers vertical shades from reprocessed cotton and blinds made from bamboo.
Another company, Norman Window Fashions, uses of materials without volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in its Normandy and Woodlore shutters and blinds. Comfortex emphasizes an eco-friendly approach in marketing its Persona line of Greenguard-certified cellular shades, including recyclable, nontoxic materials; sustainable manufacturing; and energy efficiency - and, depending on your design taste, you can get shades with the logo of your favorite sports team, college, or university.
Similarly, Mariak is emphasizing “green” principles in the manufacture of its fabric shades and aluminum blinds, including the use of recyclable, PVC-free materials, antibacterial treatment, and Greenguard certifications, as well as motorized drapery tracks with a variety of control options.