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Blinds named Best Energy Saving Idea at PEA Awards
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 09:33

A Somerset-based climate change activist and green designer has won the Best Energy Saving Idea award at the PEA (People & The Environment Achievement) Awards 2012 for her handmade thermal roman blinds.

Katy Duke launched The Thermal Blind Company in 2011 to create an affordable alternative to secondary glazing for homeowners in need of heat-saving measures but reluctant or unable to replace their existing windows.

“I designed the blinds when I couldn’t find a solution for my own problem sash windows,” says Katy. “Then redundancy gave me the ideal opportunity to start making them for other people.”

Judges at the PEA Awards, who included Friends of the Earth director Joe Jenkins and Jo Wood, founder of Jo Wood Organics, felt the product had significant scalability potential. Tony Juniper, chair of the judging panel, said: “We are not going to achieve a greener society only by passing laws and setting standards. We will also need a lot of imagination, passion, commitment and inspiration, and that is what these awards are all about. They are there to recognise and celebrate the really good things that are going on, the people behind them and to inspire everyone to see the huge opportunities that are there for the taking.”

Held in association with The Co-operative, The PEA Awards 2012 were presented by TV personality Michaela Strachan at a ceremony in London in March. Chris Shearlock, sustainable development manager for The Co-operative, said: “We are proud to partner with the PEA Awards as part of our strategy to raise awareness of environmental issues across the retail and business sectors. It’s fantastic to see so many worthy candidates being recognised.”

Sponsored by renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, the Best Energy Saving Idea award recognises the individual deemed to have come up with the best carbon-saving idea. The Thermal Blind Company’s roman blinds are designed to dramatically reduce heat loss and remove down-draughts from single-glazed windows in the UK’s old and historic buildings, and in particular listed buildings. In December 2010 a six-hour test of the blinds’ performance was undertaken using a prototype fitted to a typical single-glazed Georgian window. The results showed that the blinds increased the U-value of the window from 4.8W/m2k (a typical value for a single-glazed window) to around 1.8-2.0 W/m2k, equivalent to the minimum requirement for a replacement window (minus coverings) according to today’s Building Regulations. Further tests are planned for this year at the National Physics Laboratory.

Constructed like traditional roman blinds, the blinds incorporate five layers including a highly energy-efficient thermal core and unique magnetic edge seal. The outer layers are a linen-effect polyester fabric, visible from the interior of the room and available in a range of colour options, and a fade-resistant polycotton lining on the window side. In-between there is a 7mm core of Thinsulate, a highly insulating thermal fleece usually used for clothing, which nestles between two layers of aluminium-faced Mylar, the ‘space blanket’ material developed by NASA.

The blinds have an aluminium headrail which uses a modern chain pulley with nickel, chrome or brass chain. A more robust winder mechanism can be used for large blinds of around 2 square metres.

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