ENERGY STAT: SMALL BUILDINGS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR 47% OF THE
ENERGY CONSUMED BY ALL COMMERCIAL FACILITIES, ACCORDING TO A
STUDY BY THE PRESERVATION GREEN LAB, A PROJECT OF THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION.
Navigating the Complex World of Automated
Window Shading continued from page 11
indicate the value of automated shading.
Productivity in the workplace is often
considered with the 3-30-300 rule,
which breaks down how a company or
organization pays occupancy costs.
The $3 figure represents how much is
spent on utilities per square foot, with
$30 for rent and $300 for employee
costs. Often times, FMs look to optimize
spending practices in the 3 and 30
categories, as those are often the easiest
places for FMs to immediately impact
the bottom line. However, changes to the
workplace environment can make the
most use out of the 300 category.
Research conducted by Lutron and
Purdue University have found that
sunlight glare can reduce productivity
by 20%, a substantial amount effectively
stifling workplace output. In open spaces
where many people are working, sunlight
can drain productivity. So while it might
take an investment to solve, it could end
up boosting productivity and improving
the bottom line.
One of the greatest changes in the
industry in the last five years is the
focus on integration among systems and
technology – both with basic controls and
with other systems within a building.
The move to wireless systems allows
simpler installation that circumvents
the more invasive implementation of
their wired counterparts. Installation of
automated shading has historically been
more difficult because it often required
planning in the design stages or through
Whether the implementation takes
place during construction or later,
wireless solutions leave FMs with more
options that involve a less expensive
installation process. “The availability of
automated shades that can be wired for
power or powered with batteries that can
be expected to last over three years make
it an option either way,” explains Kutell.
In addition to wireless operation,
automated window shading as an
industry is working towards integrating
their systems with other automated
building systems. “As people try to
optimize the performance of spaces
from both an energy perspective and an
occupancy comfort perspective, there’s
increased focus on the operability of
commercial systems along a variety of
manufacturers,” says Chambers.
Shading systems can now work with
the HVAC, for example, sharing data to
inform each other’s operation, which can
boost efficiency in the building. Because
many use the BACnet protocol, automated
shading systems can communicate with a
wide range of systems in the building.
The key for users is to integrate
available data from their systems with
the experiences of occupants. “It’s about
giving FMs the information about how
the system is performing, explaining
the energy savings that they’re getting
and giving them data that can help them
make good decisions to resolve issues for
occupants quickly,” says Chambers.
Along with the constantly progressing
technology surrounding automated
window shading, fabric selection is
becoming a focus in the industry. Often
overlooked, fabrics are now being
developed to address specific needs.
“Fabric is transitioning away from
just an aesthetic element in a space
and driving the performance of both
occupants and energy,” says Chambers. “If
you select the wrong fabric, it can have a
negative impact on the occupant, as well
as the energy performance of the space.”
Understanding your individual needs
will go a long way in ending up with the
appropriate fabric. Finding the right
material to provide the best view, glare
protection and energy savings ultimately
depends on the space. To find what is best
for your space, refer to an expert in the
industry. In fact, some companies provide
online tools to help you find the perfect
fabric for your space.
Fabric also provides the opportunity
to increase green efforts in a building.
“From a materiality standpoint, there are
a lot of fabric options, which meet many
different green standards for third party
certifications,” says Michelle Greene,
Commercial Shades Marketing and
Training Leader at Lutron. Some shading
fabrics include sustainable attributes
like GREENGUARD certification,
PVC-free material, recycled or
recyclable composition and LEED point
opportunities for a building.
Ultimately, the options for automated
shading can seem endless, but if you are
aware of the variables that go into their
implementation, you can decide if they
are right to optimize the occupation of
Justin Feit firstname.lastname@example.org is
assistant editor of BUILDINGS.
IN SMALLER SETTINGS like private offices and
conference rooms, motorized shades offering
individual control can optimize productivity.