Solar shades are a great window treatments choice for preserving your view and increasing energy efficiency. For one, they are not black out shades; they do not darken a home and keep out all light. Solar shades allow light and air to filter through, but, at the same time, they can reduce a room’s temperature by up to 25%. Cooler temperatures inside mean more ”green” outside — in other words, more money in our pockets and contribution to a better world.
They are a very popular choice for windows with a view. Imagine a beach house with solar shades on all the beach facing windows – who would want to block that view? Also, the material used on solar window treatments blocks UV rays and lower solar heat gain. This also helps to prevent damage to your interior.
You can purchase solar window screens as vertical blinds, panel track blinds and as solar shades. They all use the same solar screen material.
Sounds great so far? But before you rush out to buy solar shades, here comes the tricky part.
Solar window treatments come in a variety of opacities or ‘openness’ factors. You’ll typically see openness factors between 3% to 14%.
The best way to think about this is this: the higher the number, the more light is transmitted through the solar screen material. So, a 14% solar screen will transmit the most amount of light versus a 3% solar screen.
It is important to note the privacy implications of openness. If you choose 14% openness to have the best view-through, people on the outside will also have a clear view inside your home. This is especially true when the outside light is dark (dusk, evening) and you have lights on inside your home – for people outside, it will be like watching the events of your room on television.
Basically, you’ll need to choose the appropriate openness factor that balances your needs for view through and privacy. However, if privacy is a big issue for you, solar shades may not be the right window treatment for you. Because, even on the low end of the openness scale, privacy is not solar shades’ best attribute.