Window shades

Can window shades be smart? Well, that depends.

Looking back, window shades have come a long way from the days of manually-pull-the-cord-twist-the-stick.  Shades are evolving to be part of an ever-growing home automation system – a growing market that includes many devices for automating control of your HVAC, lighting, security, and entertainment systems. According to Transparency Market Research, this market was valued at $3.6 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $16.4 billion by 2019.” Not too shabby.

Your programmable thermostat is an early example of home automation. With the rise of the “Internet of Things,” new capabilities are available and you can manage your home remotely too.

This is good news for you and the planet. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, In 2013, 40% of total U.S. energy consumption was consumed in residential and commercial buildings. So products that manage your home environment more efficiently – when you are home and away – are a win.

What a difference a shade makes

While home entertainment systems may be the “sexiest” part of home automation, more mundane things – like automated window shades – can make a surprising difference to your comfort, safety and energy bill. For example. Somfy offers automated shades with quiet, battery-driven motors that power up and down at the touch of a button. These shades offer benefits like:

  • Safety – there are no cords for kids or pets to get tangled in.
  • Convenience – you can raise and lower all your shades at once, rather than running from window to window to manually adjust them.
  • Cost savings – motorized shades that can sense a sunny day in January – and open wide to capture that solar heat indoors – can reduce your heating bill. Likewise, the shades can be programmed to block the sun in the summer, and even detect a cloudy day and open partway.
  • Serenity –  if waking up to an alarm clock jangles your nerves, you can program the shades to open in the morning and wake up to natural light. A nicer way to start your day!

If you’ve dealt with window cords that tangle or rods that break, windows that are out of reach, or a living space that freezes or roasts while you’re at work, motorized shades may become a “must-have item.” The fact that they also help you reduce electric waste and save money too is just icing on the cake.

So take a moment to marvel at the possibilities of motorized automatic shades – that keep you comfortable, safe, more efficient, and frugal – all at once!

Interested in learning which smart thermostat would best complement your automatic shades? Check out our Earth911TV episode on smart thermostats.

Feature image courtesy of Andrew Black

By Alison Lueders

Alison Lueders is the Founder and Principal of Great Green Content - a green business certified by both Green America and the Green Business Bureau. She offers copywriting and content marketing services to businesses that are “going green.” Convinced that business can play a powerful and positive role in building a greener, more sustainable economy, she launched Great Green Content in 2011.