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automated window shades save energy

Automated Smart Window Shades Save Energy

By Laura BourlandRise Writer
Feb 2, 2018

A new study by the Energy House in Salford, England, found that closing window blinds and curtains at night can reduce heat loss by as much as 17%. Drawing the shades at night goes far beyond privacy. Closing curtains and blinds help to contain heat within the walls of your home on cooler days, prevents heat leaks, and keeps cool air from seeping in. On warmer days, drawing the blinds against the direct sun can prevent excess heat from penetrating the home and helps keep cool air conditioning from escaping.

Window shades and blinds are available in an endless supply of options, including decorating style, color, material, and functionality, but shades and curtains do far more than creating privacy. In choosing the right window shades for your home, you can experience greater control over the temperature, overall energy consumption, and security both while you’re at home and away.

Automated smart window shades are a reasonably new addition to the window covering marketplace. Still, they’re already grabbing up market share and providing homeowners an innovative new option in energy savings and home security.

serena shades
Source: Serena Shades

What are Automated Window Shades?

Smart window shades are the future of home privacy, security, and energy conservation. There are a variety of automated window shades available on the market and growing daily. At the basic level, they offer a remote method for raising or lowering window shades from a smartphone app, connected remote control, or even by voice command.

Depending on the solution you choose, smarter automated window shades may offer options to program preferences, respond to collected data like temperature, and the option to move window shades both individually and as a group.  Most solutions require a hub or bridge that seamlessly integrates smart blinds into the larger home automation system.

And don’t forget to keep in mind the chemical composition of window shade material to ensure a safe choice for your family. While automated window shades are excellent for energy savings, some may contain PVC with phthalates; a common additive to cut manufacturing costs. Flame retardant additives applied to increase the safety of blinds and curtains in the case of fire can also have a negative impact as their chemical leaks into your clean air. These added chemicals have been known to cause problems in pregnant women and young children. Be sure to do your research and ask the right questions to ensure a safe choice in automated window shades for your home.

serena shades
Photo Credit: Serena Shades

Choosing the Right Automated Window Shares for Your Home

We’re still in the early days of smart homes and automated window shades, but you can certainly expect to see significant growth in functionality, integrations, and options. Read on as we consider the newly available options in motorized window shades.

serena shades
Photo Credit: Serena Shades

Serena by Lutron Automated Blinds

Lutron’s Serena automated window shades are currently the leader in smart window coverings and show the most potential growth of features and functionality.

These smart window shades make it easy to raise or lower blinds from a remote control or the mobile app.  They are also the only automated shade that can be controlled by both Siri and Alexa voice control. Because they’re still in the beginnings of building out functionality, voice control cannot access programmed scenes and control all shades at one time.

The shades are wireless and battery-powered for ease of installation, requiring a change of D batteries every 4-6 years, depending on how many times a week you move the shades. They integrate seamlessly with popular smart home systems like HomeKit and Nest and can also be connected to other gadgets within the home using IFTTT programming.

As one of the quietest shades on the market and the only option offering complete customization and ordering online, there’s no doubt that these smart shades do make a difference. Lutron has even gone so far as to add emergency automatic blind raising if a fire is detected to help response teams locate and control fires quicker. The Serena smart shades integrate with Lutron’s smart lighting as well for a complete smart home.

Serena shades start at $188/window and are available in over 150 fabrics.

hunter douglas sustainable
Photo Credit: Hunter Douglas

Hunter Douglas PowerView

The intelligent PowerView window shades by Hunter Douglas take automation to a whole new level, as proven by their Red Dot Design Award. 

You can schedule these motorized blinds to raise and lower with your home schedule to conserve energy and create your desired environment 24/7. Also, you can control all blinds through the PowerView app, with PowerView Pebble remote controls, and with Alexa voice control.

The game-changer offered by Hunter Douglas is the programmable scenes feature. Hunter Douglas makes it easy to program up to 6 unique “scenes” or combinations of window shade positions using the app or remote. That means you can create a weekend blind schedule separate from weekday schedules to give yourself a little extra time to sleep in. Program different schedules for winter and summer as the sun rotates around your home. And you can even create vacation automation to raise and lower shades systematically to give the appearance that you’re really at home.

The PowerView motorized blinds start at $250/window.

Pella shades
Photo Credit: Pella

Pella’s Insynctive Motorized Window Shades

Pella takes a slightly different approach at smart window shades with their Insynctive motorized blinds and shades. Unlike other smart shades, Pella’s are built into the window itself, between panes of glass.

The automated blinds can be raised, lowered, and even tilted with a tap of the provided remote control or via your smart device with a bridge connection. They can also be programmed to raise and lower at set times to fit your family’s schedule and the suns’ rotation.

The batteries in each window shade recharge automatically through solar panels or with the help of an in-room charger when solar charging is not available. The only downside to Pella’s automated blinds is they only integrate with other Pella smart home products.

Pella’s Insynctive blinds start at $143/window and require professional installation.

somfy solar blinds and shades
Photo Credit: Somfy

Somfy Solar Powered Blinds and Shades

Somfy offers motorized window shades built with energy savings in mind. These smart shades feature built-in solar sensors that sense sun intensity and heat and automatically adjust the shades to maximize energy conservation.

Somfy blinds can be programmed to automatically raise and lower to offer the best TV viewing conditions in the evening and wake you up with natural light. At any time, automated window shades can be controlled remotely from the myLink app by tapping or by voice command.

Somfy smart blinds integrate with high-end smart home systems, including Control4, Crestron, and Savant.

Somfy motorized blinds start at $299/window.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-02T17:26:03+0000
Laura Bourland

Article by:

Laura Bourland

Laura grew up in the California suburbs, far removed from environmentalism, but nature always has a way. She uprooted her life in 2015, moving to the countryside of Washington to live a more sustainable and simple life on 12 acres. She and her fiancee are learning on the job as they attempt everything from gardening and natural pest control to eco-friendly building and home improvement.