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What is a Sunscreen Roller Shade?

Any roller shade fabric acts as a sunscreen and some decorative fabrics even allow for some exterior visibility when the shade is down.

What makes sunscreen roller shades unique is that they were designed specifically to reduce the harmful effects of the sun on interior furnishings while reducing the solar heat gain in the summer while allowing you to see out.

WAIT!  THERE IS NO MAGIC!

During the day YOU can see out and NO ONE can see in. 
When it is DARK outside the REVERSE is TRUE
You CAN’T SEE OUT but EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU!

That is why you should ONLY consider Sunscreen Roller Shades for your PUBLIC spaces, NEVER for you PRIVATE spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms or any space where you are close to neighbors and the shades are in a semi-private room like a kitchen, family room etc.

Too often we get calls from consumers who are looking for that Magic window covering, you know, the one that lets me see out but no-one can see in.  
If someone tells you they have that – run away!  They don’t know how Sunscreens work in the real world.

What does 1%, 3%, 5%, 7%+ Mean?

The number represents the openness factor. 
1% means it blocks 99% of the UV,
3% means it blocks 97% of the UV.  
The lower the number, the More UV is blocked.

Heat Gain

Solar Heat Gain is ACCUMULATIVE.  

The openness factor is not necessarily an indication of the amount of heat gain that is reduced.  If you have a west facing window with full afternoon sun, a sunscreen roller shade will REDUCE the heat gain, but if you have large windows (ie: Solarium or Condo) the gain is constant and the comfort level is based on the amount of heat you can remove with your HVAC system.  If you system is working throughout the day and your residence is still hot, either your HVAC system is too small for the space or it simply can’t keep up with the heat gain.

A properly installed sunscreen roller shade should ‘keep up’ with the HVAC system – and it should, if the density and fabric type is chosen correctly.  From a technical perspective it’s about reducing the load on your system,  Not only to improve comfort but  to reduce your HVAC costs.

The colour of the fabric is also factor in the amount of heat gain you’ll experience.  The darker the fabric, the more of the sun’s energy will be converted to heat – which will (in effect) become a ‘radiator’ adding to the heat load rather than helping.  That is one reason condos typically have a rule ‘all window shades must be white or off-white facing the exterior’.  Not only does this make the building consistent but also reduces the heat and cooling load on the building.

GLARE

The darker the fabric colour the less ‘glare’

If you select a 5% or 7% sunscreen, bright white, when the sun shines on it, it ‘Glows’ creating ‘Glare’ that reduces your ability to see out.  The darker the fabric colour, the less ‘Glare, better visibility when the sun shines on the fabric BUT you sacrifice energy saving to achieve better visibility.
It’s a balancing act between Privacy, Energy Efficiency & Visibility 

DOUBLE ROLLER SHADES

Two Roller Shades in ONE.  Manufacturers have found a way to have two roller shades within one shade.  One shade typically is a BLACKOUT fabric and the other is a SUNSCREEN or TRANSLUCENT or DECORATIVE fabric.

BENEFIT:

You can have one shade partially lowered to cut down on the heat gain while keeping a sunscreen or decorative fabric lowered for visibility/privacy/energy efficiency.   You only need the blackout shade partially or completely down during the hottest part of the day and when not in use it’s rolled up – invisible.

Some manufacturers have the two roller shades in one cassette meaning they are operated independently.  Hunter Douglas has their DuoLite system where the two roller shade fabrics share the same roller shade.







Available in different openness percentages so you can choose the one that matches your needs between:

How much you