By Deborah Moss
Every day we strive to offer our clients window coverings that are beautiful and high performance. Thanks to innovations in materials and technology across our industry, it is now easier than ever to include window coverings that are environmentally responsible as well.
Here are some of the most exciting green window coverings available today.
Of all the window treatment styles, shutters remain a perennial favorite. They never go out of style. They also are extremely resource-intensive from both a material and fabrication standpoint.
Natural hardwood shutters are prized for their rich graining and sheen, light weight and structural stability. Graber’s natural wood shutters and blinds come exclusively from North American foresters who practice sustained yield forest management. Sustainable forestry dictates replanting twice as many hardwood trees as are being harvested at any given time to replenish this renewable resource.
Graber’s facility in Grayling, MI, is fully self-sufficient when it comes to energy generation for its operations. All wood shavings and sawdust are utilized to generate the energy required to heat the facility and process the lumber. Finishing is completed in Mexico, where the shutter components are stained or painted with eco-friendly water-based paints and handmade into finished goods.
Natural Woven Shades
Hartmann&Forbes (see photo at left) is a boutique supplier of made-to-order luxury natural woven shades, drapery and wallpaper. Many of their products are made with natural fibers that are rapidly renewable. By sourcing natural fibers such as ramie, banana stem, water hyacinth, arrowroot and bamboo globally, and then working with indigenous weavers at facilities close to where the raw fibers have been harvested, the company supports cottage industries worldwide.
Each shade is woven to size, eliminating all waste. The handweaving makes it possible to produce custom shades up to 180 inches wide—much wider than industry norms. The company also sponsors a take-back program that allows customers who are installing new shades to send back their used ones for reuse.
The ever-popular roller shade, now available in a dizzying array of solar fabrics that offer enhanced light-control features, is an easy green move thanks to the extensive GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold certifications undertaken by solar fabric manufacturers like Phifer, Mermet and Vertilux. (The certification process measures a product’s impact on healthy indoor air quality.)
Phifer alone has over 80 fabrics that were awarded GREENGUARD certification. Their SheerWeave Infinity2 sustainable solar fabric (seen at left) is woven from 100 percent postindustrial recycled fiber. It is 100 percent recyclable and offers excellent solar heat and glare control. Plus, Phifer offers customers a take-back program for shades that have reached the end of their useful life.
Solar fabrics are widely available through major window treatment suppliers such as Lafayette Interior Fashions, Porter Preston and Vista and can be motorized in every possible configuration. Consider dual shades (i.e., one light-filtering fabric plus one light-blocking fabric working in tandem) for optimal light control and insulating versatility.
Cellular Insulating Shades
First on the scene to gain credence for insulation and climate-control properties, cellular shades have come a long way. The Comfortex LinenWeave cellular shade is GREENGUARD certified and available as light filtering or room darkening in 800 colors in the Color Lux made-to-order line. On-demand fabrication prevails across the entire Color Lux line of draperies, roman shades, sheer shades, roller shades, cellular shades and top treatments to eliminate scrap, as fabric is sized and colorized to order at the New York production facility.
Depending on your performance objectives, the Color Lux Linen Weave cellular shade can be outfitted with super-insulating SlumberShades hardware (with light-absorbing tracks best for sleeping) or Strataview hardware, which couples a sheer cellular with your choice of linen weave to provide either light-filtering or room-darkening performance. Comfortex offers a suite of motorization options, with rechargeable motors by far the most popular.
Consider also the company’s Mezzo Motorized Skylight Shades for skylights. They offer a solar panel recharge to trickle charge those out-of-reach windows so effectively that you may never need to manually recharge the batteries.
Deborah Moss, founder of Fairfield County, CT-based Windowful Interiors, has been designing and installing window treatments for decades. A global entrepreneur in technology innovation and environmental stewardship, she offers a unique perspective on sustainable window treatment design and technology.