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Window Dressing, The Buyer’s Responsibility

GreenGuard-and-Microban-Canada - ZebraBlinds.ca

Why GreenGaurd and Microban Certification has to be taken seriously?

The ratio of heat directly transmitted by the sun (referred to as solar heat in technical definitions) that enters any space through the fenestration (window location and treatment) to the incident solar radiation is called solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). SHGC is an imperative index for homeowners to consider when they take decisions to install window treatment products in their homes.

Since we spend over 70% of our time indoors, the quality of the air that we breathe is of paramount importance. Science teaches us that chemical reactions occur in materials at the molecular level when heat is applied, and very often gases are generated. Blinds and Shades made of cheap quality vinyl, PVC, faux wood when exposed to direct sunlight and heat, release carcinogenic gases. Our homes are made up of many different types of material that react in some manner when they are in contact with sun rays. Poor indoor air quality can cause or aggravate respiratory ailments like asthma, headache, allergies that result in flu-like symptoms, constantly running noses, itches, Cancer etc.

What would be the best window treatments trends suits you in Canada?

So when we look at our windows and plan to have them dressed with the right modern window treatments in Canada , that will keep us comfortable, healthy, happy and home-proud, what would be the ideal solution?

A good unhindered view, keeping out unwelcome visitors like insects and bugs. A healthy airflow, with a good SHGC. The material used should be weather resistant and rust proof, easy to install, easy to maintain and last for a long time. It should be safe from both health and physical hazards. Above all, it should be environmentally friendly and entirely recyclable. A tall order to expect from a product?

It may be a good idea to keep in mind that for each window there is an ideal solution and rarely does one genre fit all. The direction and the angle of the window are critical. The material used to fabricate the window fixture should also be taken into consideration along with the geographical location, the climatic trends and the micro climate of the place. To a large extent, the decorative and aesthetics takes precedence over the other factors because it is the first thing that one is faced with when one enters an enclosed space and gives an instant feel-good feeling.

Why reputed manufactures and retailers matter to you?

 

Reputed manufacturers and retailers are alive to trends, technology and consumer preferences. But by no means is the marketplace entirely dominated by reliable products. For every good product, there is one that has seized upon the appeal factor rather than taking pains to adhere strictly to specifications detailed by organizations set up to ensure safe and effective products. The first thing that comes into the mind of a homeowner after color and texture is the cost. Products that adhere to all standards are substantially more expensive than those that do not.

 

GreenGuard-and-Microban - ZebraBlinds.ca

It is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure the source of the product that they are buying is reliable. The longer you have heard of a brand, chances are, the more reliable the product. This does not mean that more recent companies do not produce entirely suitable products. The government has handed over the responsibility to Standards Organizations to provide specifications to manufacturers. The Standards organizations draw up specifications in consultation with expert inputs from related agencies. Responsible manufacturers, whether young or old, use these guidelines in their manufacturing process. For example, UL Environment’s GREENGUARD certification for blinds and shades program helps buyers identify interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions and improve the quality of the air in which the products are used.

The choice before us is immense. Within each type i.e. curtains and drapes, blinds, etc, there are almost unlimited variations and combinations of material to choose from. Many of these are treated with coatings to provide properties that are not inherent in the primary material. The angle of sun rays striking on the surface of the window influences the resultant SHGC. By treating the base material with special coatings, the property of the window covering can be controlled to exhibit desired properties. Sun rays can thus be absorbed, reflected or refracted to provide desirable SHGC levels and protection from UV radiation. The protective coating itself can be a source of contamination because it reacts to heat, cold, moisture and cleaning agents releasing gases, many of which have been found to induce adverse health conditions.

The old adage that beauty is only skin deep seems to be a relevant analogy to keep in mind when we think about window treatments ideas or commence a window treatment project. We need to explore beyond the superficial striking-to-the-eye aspect and choose beautiful products that are safe too.

It is comforting to be aware that multiple agencies are involved in setting standards that responsible vendors are expected to follow. We need to enquire about the certifications that our products have and the standards that they comply with. Reputed vendors like Spring Window Fashions, Graber, Norman, Crown and others who have undergone the compliance formalities highlight the certifications on their product literature and websites. No one wishes a dear to heart project to turn into one loaded with future problems.

With a responsible approach, the ideal is out there for us – within reach.

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