residential development guide for home extensions and new dwellings 



LEVOLUX LTD. - Building Materials and Architectural Building Products

As the UK’s leading Solar Shading specialist, Levolux continues to harness new technologies in order to create cost-effective, energy efficient solutions for its customers. In a new and exciting development, Levolux is now able to offer a range of Lighting Control systems, incorporating state-of-the-art integrated controls to manage a building’s requirements for lighting and shading.

The application of an integrated Levolux Lighting Control system can bring significant cost savings. Internal light sensors help to determine the requirement for light and shade at any given moment in a particular room or an area within a building. By linking motorised blinds and lighting to a programmable central control system, they can be automatically adjusted in unison to maintain optimum internal light levels.

Most home extensions requiring planning permission for a contemporary design that needs to control solar gains through passive solar heating will probably benefit from using their products during the build.  Many Architects or House Extension Designers can incorporate their products within the scheme design drawings and specifications.

The following article may be of interest for homeowners researching this type of building product for inclusion within their own house extension scheme.

Solar Shades 101

There are tons of options available, from interior to exterior solar shades, multiple brands of material, manual vs. motorized shades - and much more. They have become a mainstream window covering, from commercial shades to upscale, and even more modest homes. Most window covering companies carry a line of similar offerings, but I would really recommend looking for a company that specializes in Solar Shades - like the one I work for in San Diego. As you will see from this article, there are lots of things to consider when choosing the style of shade you want, much more than your typical budget blind man really understands.

The first thing to consider is whether you want your shades on the inside or outside. There are several advantages to exterior shades, for example:

1. They afford better HEAT protection - usually in the 80% range, while interior shades fall anywhere from 30-70%

2. They are, quite obviously, invisible from that inside, meaning they do not change the decor of your home

When done correctly, exterior shades are the ultimate in shading. The consumer does have to be careful, however. A lot of "shading" companies use interior materials, or home-made systems on the outside, and they will not hold up. When

considering an exterior solar shade make sure to evaluate an engineered unit designed specifically for the outside- like the CLEARVIEW MOTION SCREEN or the world screen to name 2 of the more popular. In addition- make sure to go with a motorized shade if you're mounting outside. It can be very frustrating otherwise- and heavy!

Interior shades, on the other hand, are typically less than half the cost of exterior shades. While they are similar in function, they share no components in common. Whether you select manual or motorized interior solar shades still offer an elegant solution to glare and heat, while preserving your view.

As mentioned above, exterior shades do a better job. Once the heat penetrates the glass, however, interior shades can still combat heat. Again, color plays a factor. Lighter color cloths provide much better heat protection than darker cloths. Each and every solar shade material has a lab rating for heat block- its called the shading coefficient. If the "expert" your talking to doesn't know this- find another.

Besides the UV protection, most people think of blocking glare when it comes to sun shades. Can't see your flatscreen TV or computer? Solar shades can eliminate the glare. It is important to note that color plays a crucial role here.

White shades- or lighter color shades- reflect light, and so they do not cut the glare nearly as well as darker, or blacker shade materials. A lot of designers and window covering "experts" don't understand this- so make sure you see a large sample in your window before you decide on color of material.

There are lots of applications for solar shades- commercial to residential. Sun shades offer a great alternative to traditional window shades. Make sure to pick a company that specializes in your application- ask questions, and you'll be sure to get a product that is as functional as it is beautiful.

Whichever system or type of shade you select, it will be as fantastic looking as it will be functional and energy efficient. There are countless applications!