Here is a fantastic article from ‘Blinds & Shutters’ magazine about Louvolite fabrics, a product we are proud to supply at Expression Blinds:
Louvolite’s products are also highly sophisticated solar shading systems – as designers, architects and specifiers can easily find out. It’s easy for us: we know about the products, the huge variety and their associated features and benefits. After all, it’s our industry and we specialise in these products.
Not so for the professionals involved in the industry that designs and creates the buildings that cover our world. Their areas of expertise are not specific to individual product types or groups; they rely on information, supplied or researched, to identify the appropriate products to be used.
Our industry’s role is to provide these specifiers with sufficient relevant information to enable them to be able to select fabrics that provide them with what the environment they have created needs and not just what they feel they want.
Many of our products can do exactly that and combine function with design so well that it is not always easy to recognise our products as highly sophisticated solar shading systems created to provide excellent and typically trouble-free service over many years. Examples of this would be those Louvolite fabrics that feature CCT: cold coat technology.
Having designed fabulous structures, architects, designers and specifiers will require the internal finishes to be as impressive as the external form. Colour is a vital ingredient in the overall scheme of interior décor and imaginative colour schemes should not be hindered by a limited colour palette of product available. CCT is an exciting development which significantly improves the solar and optical performance of darker colours, allowing them to be selected – if preferred – whilst retaining good performance. Other special treatments such as SPC (solar protective coating) adorn fabrics to provide significant improvements in solar and optical performance over non-SPC fabrics. These issues are hugely important when an architect or building service engineer considers the requirements for air conditioning equipment to satisfy the artificial mechanical cooling of a building. REHA, the European body representing the European heating and ventilation industry, has included a section within its latest industry handbook outlining the importance of considering solar shade requirements in conjunction with mechanical heating and ventilation systems.
These days, the information requirement is not just for the solar and optical performance of fabric – it is more and more important to provide Gtot values for each fabric. This value combines the performance of the fabric with the window and gives the value of the combined solar gain. This requirement was outlined in Building Standards document Part L. All Louvolite fabrics are measured to this standard and the information is readily available.
Window DressingWe should use every opportunity to remind the specifier community – and perhaps ourselves – that the improved performance of our industry’s products relative to reducing solar gain and the subsequent heat build-up reduces the need to artificially cool a building with air conditioning. Less air conditioning, less energy used, less money spent and a reduced carbon footprint – a very green product indeed.Louvolite’s latest fabric collection’s performance figures have been measured in accordance with EN 13363-1. These figures are provided on all current data for Louvolite’s performance fabrics. In addition, these figures are also peer reviewed and then entered onto the BBSA Shade Specifier database where those architects or building service engineers can import the performance figures into a virtual modelling programme to establish the reduction in solar gain that can be achieved by using any Louvolite fabric.
Okay – it’s great having these wonderful products and the support of performance information but the specifier community is full of very busy people. How can they get access to key information easily and without trawling through pages and pages of data or product catalogues? Well, once again, Louvolite can supply the answer. First of all, a simple fold-out colour chart features the most popular commercial products – not just a scanned image of colour but actual samples of the fabric in order that meaningful decisions can be made. In addition to this, a simple yet totally comprehensive selection will be available in a format that once again is designed to make life easier for those responsible for interior design and product performance. In this format, the user can fan out colour options and quickly identify the shade required. Relevant performance details are printed on the reverse in order to allow the user to ensure performance is as required.
In many instances, designers are required to submit product storyboards illustrating how all the interior furnishings link together. For such instances, or when a larger fabric selection is required for other purposes, Louvolite now offers a sample service which supplies the fabric sample selected directly to the specifier and notifies the Louvolite customer of this request and action. Wherever possible, this notification is achieved by email or text to ensure an immediate update of information to Louvolite’s customer.
This concept has been developed after many hours of listening to architects about the type of information they require and how they want it delivered. Louvolite will operate this new support programme in conjunction with the work it currently does with RIBA to support the work of its manufacturing customers. By adopting this new strategy Louvolite will further support the hard work done in commercial sales by Louvolite customers.