This may seem like a contradiction, but in the UK we do have a growing problem with buildings over-heating in the summer (resulting in costly air conditioning for the recipient and the environment) and cooling considerably in the winter (resulting in costly heating for the recipient and the environment).
The European Commission estimates that 40% of the final energy consumed in the EU originates from buildings, mostly from their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Due to increased urbanisation and population expansion, this consumption is rising by 3% annually and will reach 70% by 2050.
Because of the significant potential they present for reducing energy usage, commercial buildings have typically been the primary concern of both investment and research. Although, a substantial change in energy consumption from commercial to residential buildings has been brought on by the recent pandemic, which has forced people to remain at home.
The UK government plans to adopt a rigorous climate change target which will reduce emissions by 78%. This Carbon Budget restricts the volume of greenhouse gases emitted, bringing the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050.
Achieving the optimum balance of a building’s energy consumption needs a multidisciplinary approach to building design that will ensure the best results. This article will explain how solar shading can reduce the heating and cooling demands of our buildings whether the objective is to improve new builds or retrofit older properties.
Is There a Solution to Both Heat Gain and Loss?
In order for buildings to be more energy efficient then reducing heat loss means less heating and reducing heat gain means less air-conditioning, which results in cheaper energy and financial requirements.
Fixed and external solar shading can capably reduce heat gain within a building and improve natural lighting, especially for visual comfort by controlling glare. But during the winter there is not much to gain from these solutions.
Utilising dynamic shading systems can manage light levels, cut down on heat gain in the summer and assist in decreasing heat loss in the winter. Many articles and analysis reports mention this as one of the technologies that has the highest return on investment and savings.
In cold conditions, internal blinds will maximise solar benefits if left open throughout the day and can offer insulation if completely closed overnight. Instead of leaving the adjustment to the occupants, a control system can be used to automate this.
During the summer, blinds reduce heat ingress, especially if they have a reflective surface on the window-facing side. Cellular or honeycomb shades are very good options for reducing heat gain and heat loss through a window.
We will delve into a bit more detail about the ways of reducing heat gain and heat loss and then offer a solution to curb both of these with one system.
Reducing Heat / Solar Gain
When the occupants of a building suffer overheating at home or at work, it may have a negative effect on their comfort and wellness and can also impede productivity.
When the interior thermal environment creates uncomfortable circumstances, whether they include lengthy exposure to an averagely high temperature or high-peak temperatures for a brief amount of time, a mitigation strategy must be established.
The rising use of insulation and the necessity for higher building airtightness, although largely intended to minimise the need for heating, have combined to generate an increasing number of over-heated buildings. Regulations for building materials to keep buildings warm in colder months have been reported to cause overheating.
In the UK, overheating is recognised as a serious challenge and is increasingly more serious because of a number of causes, including climate change, electrical equipment, and more glazing in high-rise structures.
The use of internal shading is regarded as essential because it significantly reduces the amount of solar energy delivered to the room. This solution cuts the amount of time the temperature is above 26 degrees by 80–90% in the case of half-opaque shading and eliminating overheating almost entirely in the case of black-out shading with a reflective surface facing outwards.
Read our article on over-heating which covers this subject in more detail.
Reducing Heat Loss
Typically, a building loses between 10-30% or more of its heat via the windows depending on the age, window frames and type of glazing.
Installing window blinds, especially with blackout materials for extra insulation, is a quick and easy approach to save a substantial amount of heat loss. Depending on the style of blind you select, a properly installed blind can cut this loss by up to 16%.
They essentially form a barrier that keeps the heat inside while blocking out the cold. When completely closed, a blackout roller blind with superior fittings and materials will aid in reducing heat loss through the window.
The benefit of installing these blinds is that they provide year-round thermal management by keeping your space cool in the summer, as mentioned above, and warm in the winter.
Another method for reducing heat loss is using curtains. But which is better for retaining heat, curtains or blinds?
Both can be efficient, but the key is to ensure a tight fit and remove any gaps that permit draughts and heat loss.
Curtains could have an advantage in that they usually cover a bigger space are generally fitted outside the recess covering the window space on all sides. Blinds will need to cover that region as tightly as possible to trap the heat inside for best performance when fitted inside the recess.
Energy Consumption and Efficiency
Roller blinds will significantly lessen heat loss through your windows if they are properly positioned against the window frame. The blind’s snug fit minimises heat loss and blocks the entry of any chilly air assisting in keeping the temperature in the building regulated.
By taking full advantage of a roller blind’s thermal efficiency by simply opening them at the appropriate time of day will save energy consumption of the property.
For optimal results, open the blinds during the day so that the sun can warm the house. As soon as the sun sets in the evening, the blinds may be drawn. When the blinds are drawn, the heat produced by your heating and natural sunshine will stay inside the house.
As energy prices continue to climb, heat reflectivity and insulating qualities are crucial for cutting energy expenses. With the help of energy-efficient blinds, you can keep rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Our Solution to Reducing Heat Gain and Heat Loss
Cassette blinds contain made-to-measure side channels designed to improve thermal regulation when closed and increase solar heat when fully retracted, making it the perfect choice if you’re serious about regulating heat, light, and noise in your building.
Maglette Blackout Roller Blinds are robustly built to provide a maintenance-free blind with all fixings concealed. The headboxes and side channels of this cassette system can be recessed into walls or ceilings for the ultimate built-in look.
This is a system that boasts precision-made, slim side-channels that not only secure the fabric in position to prevent jamming or becoming loose, but also optimise the size of window aperture openings with their slender dimensions.
Experience proves that well-planned projects produce solutions of optimum value and performance.
Contact us for any enquiries about our solar shading solutions.
13 Ronsons Way,
Telephone: 01727 220 007