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Certification, safety and efficiency of Blinds, Shades, Drapes & Shutters

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Standards setting organization is an organization whose role is to develop, coordinate and generate technical standards for items and services that have a wide base of consumers. In a dynamic environment, such as the one we are living in, these standards need to be constantly updated , amended and reissued as revisions.

Standards are generally offered for voluntary adoption by industry to enable manufacturers to use the guidelines for their manufacturing process and buyers to install products that are safe. When laws are passed for compulsory adoption, they become mandatory. Manufacturers who adopt these standards get their products tested and certified at approved testing laboratories and get a stamp or certificate of approval. All reputed manufacturers take pains to inform the public about their adherence to standards and display it prominently. This makes it very easy for the buyers to be confident about the quality of the products that they are installing.

We spend a considerable amount of our time indoors. An indoor that is tastefully and neatly done up creates an ambiance for comfort. The colors should be right. The windows should have well-chosen window treatment solutions that are safe, well fitted and easy to manipulate. Trial, experience, and testing have provided much data about the chemical composition of substances that are used in the manufacturing process. Many of them are found to be possible sources of contamination and hazardous to health as they can react with other agents that they come in contact with and emit substances that pollute the air and cause maladie; the milder forms include respiratory ailments like asthma, sneezing, running noses, etc. The list of the severe impact ailments is frightening. The vulnerability increases in colder climates because of the necessity for air-tight insulation.

We need be aware of:

GREENGUARD for Roller Solar Shades


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The website says “GREENGUARD Certification provides the market with solutions and resources to identify products with lower chemical emissions” Since indoor air quality is closely tied to health, it is recognized as the most important concern in homes. Emissions from building materials and furnishings are a major source of indoor air pollution. GREENGUARD Certification for roller shades fabrics has been widely adopted as a reliable standard for low-emitting products.

GreenGuard lists more than 35 chemicals that go into the manufacture of building products and interior finishes, including commonly used compounds like Formaldehyde, Styrene, Ethylene, Chloride and Vinyl chloride. Each chemical is identified by a Chemical Abstract Service ( CAS) number, and inquisitive buyers will come across consisting of a series of ten numbers separated into three groups by two hyphens. Desirable levels are provided to help manufacturers produce safe products. An awareness of emission sources and their consequences is recommended to all homeowners.


EnerGuide works in the American continent to promote energy efficiency. Compliance with the benchmarks set by EnerGuide will result in energy savings and lower utility bills and consequent reduction of the impact that each person has on the environment. Benchmarks of energy efficiency are provided for various types of homes. They inspect homes using sophisticated instruments to record readings and provide data that can be used as a guide to building energy efficient homes.

Door and window fixtures are a major source of leakage. In existing homes, these could be due to cracks, gaps and openings that need to be plugged. However, we need to recognize that doors and windows occupy large spaces and can be a major area where the energy efficiency rating can be enhanced. To achieve this end, we will find ourselves confronted with a variety of window treatment options. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Our choice includes awnings, shades, blinds, drapery, shutters, film, nets, etc., each having sub-options. Honeycomb shades are layered and box-like, to trap air in individual cells. Inert air is a poor conductor of heat, so honeycomb shades act as an effective barrier between the window and the room. In effect, it helps achieve an optimum solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) which is an important benchmark to achieve energy efficiency. However, Honeycomb shades have the disadvantage of hindering the view when drawn down to conserve the internal temperatures during winter.

Plantation shutters are mostly fitted to the insides of windows but sometimes outside too. Plantation shutters rate high on the energy-efficiency scale as they offer good R-values. They can be of wood or vinyl and can provide a rigid, tight fit to act as an effective barrier against weather conditions throughout the year. The disadvantage is that they have limited maneuverability as against options like fabric vertical blinds that are made of thinner slats fabricated from metal or synthetic material.

Draperies come in a wide range of material. They are very versatile as they can be split or full, made of thick or gossamer material, layered or coated with insulating chemicals, fully open, partly open or fully closed. The disadvantage is that they can act as dust and insect collectors and are more difficult to maintain and maneuver. They rate high on elegance and thermal insulation.

To ensure safety and efficiency, the best route is certification. Ask for it and make a choice.

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