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Smart Buildings - a practical guide

Smart buildings are a significant trend in both technology and real estate development. Major technology companies such as Cisco Systems have created 'connected' real estate groups to focus on the needs of the emerging market.  Media entities such as The Wall Street Journal have identified smart buildings as an important trend in the construction and real estate development sectors. Future-proofed buildings that are, at the same time, easy to live in (and live with) are on the horizon.

Building Regulations Dilemmas

In the first of a new series looking at complementary issues affecting the window shading industry, Garry Smith, senior technical advisor at Pilkington, addresses key issues for glass purchasers.  

How is it possible to achieve the required energy performance levels in Building Regulations without compromising window size?

The issue with U values is that as a measure of a window thermal performance, no account is taken of the positive benefits of windows. After all, they allow heat and light into a building and make the interior a more attractive and comfortable place to live and work.  With this in mind, the traditional U value alone is not the whole picture. 

New Centre for Self Builders

A giant, national self build and renovation centre is being created by BuildStore to help suppliers and brands in the building trade, including manufacturers and distributors of blinds and shutters, market and sell to the booming self-build market. The centre will be educational as well as commercial and include a full size Potton House and five life size exhibits including, plant, groundworks, walls and roof structures. The size of the centre, which will be based in Swindon, is 67,000ft2.

Quantifying Shading Device Performance

Dr Paul Littlefair, Building Research Establishment describes data that quantify how well shading devices control summertime overheating 

To control overheating and size air conditioning plant, building designers need to know how well shading devices will control solar gain. Designers generally use solar data for materials and devices in one of three ways:

A Specifiers Guide to External Sunblinds & Awnings

External sunblinds and awnings are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Traditional canvas blinds have been seen outside shop fronts since the 19th Century.  In the last 50 years, blinds of new styles and types have appeared, made of aluminium components, with rot-proof and fade-proof fabrics.

New European Standard for Awnings

Consumers want products that are safe and not detrimental to their health. The requirements for their manufacture are subject to increasingly higher standards and this also applies to awnings. From March 1st 2006, a new European standard for awning systems came into force, ES 13561 which defines the safety requirements of the machinery and building materials directive of the European Union.

New fire regulations will affect the Contract Sector

A major change in textile fire retardant specifications is imminent and is likely to have important implications for the contract sector.  Currently in the UK FR requirements are normally determined by BS5867 part 2 - Specification for fabrics for Curtains and Drapes - Flammability requirements.

Hunter Douglas Acquires Blocker
Blocker, the well establish German-based distributor of pleated blinds systems and fabrics, has been acquired by Hunter Douglas, the world market leader in window coverings. Blocker, with sales in 2004 of Û20 million and 53 employees, is marketed in the UK by Arding Marketing.

Gerald Arding said: "The acquisition of Blocker by Hunter Douglas will strengthen the product range. The important aspect for customers of the Cosiflor brand in the UK is that there will be no strategic changes taking place as Harald Reichow will continue as General Manager of Blšcker for at least three years. Therefore the current performance of the company is expected to continue exactly as before. Growth in the UK market place has been substantial and this organic growth with the customer base already in place is expected to continue without any changes in the market strategy."   
Mintel Research defines market

New research by the independent market analyst Mintel indicates that the blinds sector now constitutes 23% of the entire UK window furnishings market, equating to an estimated value of £288 million. This compares to curtains and fabric's 51% share of the market, sheers' 11% and window accessories' 15%.

Shading for Commercial Contracts
Commercial contracts for office complexes in particular offer the blindmaker and installer a challenging set of project criteria to match. So it is imperative to have the right tools for the job and Louvolite can go some way in offering a great range of window blind systems.
Choosing the Right Awning

Integrating tube motors and controls into awning installations is relatively simple these days, with standardised motor sizes, adapters, mounting brackets and various control accessories. However, choosing the optimum configuration of motor and control gear for each installation requires a logical, structured approach.


Solar Shading for Offices the Selection Criteria

by Louise Watson, Faber Blinds UK Ltd 

Selecting office blinds was relatively simple twenty years ago - they needed to be durable, fabrics flame retardant, and neutral colours were the norm. Today the criteria for choosing appropriate solar shading have changed significantly, and indeed the products available. The process has become more complicated with extra legislation and many other factors to be considered, and as a result the solutions available have become much more sophisticated and interesting.

Solar Shading for a Greener World

by Richard Guthrie, Guthrie Douglas Ltd 

The U.N. Conference on climate change in December 2005 and the entry into force of the Kyoto protocol have highlighted the need to ensure action is taken now to limit carbon emissions and invest in long-term technologies that will help build a sustainable environment. Governments worldwide are accepting the need to come together and pledge reductions to these emissions on a global scale to reduce the threat from global warming. Legislation is being drawn up in each country participating in the discussions to make sure this happens, and in the UK for example this legislation clearly encourages the use of solar shading to help achieve these aims.  


Four Criteria for Choosing the Ideal Awning

The research and development department at Dickson-Constant, a leading European manufacturer of awning fabrics, has developed the Light & Comfort study, in collaboration with the CSTC (Centre Scientifique et Technique de la Construction/Scientific and Technical Centre for Construction) and Dr Marc Fontoynont.  Blinds & Shutters finds out more...

Apollo's Big Plans

After 30 years of quietly getting on with making blinds and selling them through a countrywide network of franchise outlets, Apollo Blinds is undergoing a radical shake-up which will bring it fully into the 21st century. Apollo has an image of being a traditional, reliable, solid company but one which is probably a bit old-fashioned and staid. Nothing wrong with these attributes but they are not likely to set the market on fire in our current trading climate. 

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