Roller Blinds and The Environment; What’s The Impact?

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As concerns about the impact on our environment grows, it’s important that every industry adapts to the worries of the public.

For the construction industry, this means making as little impact on the environment as possible with every project. For new buildings this can be challenging as traditionally a new building can produce around 80 tonnes of carbon emissions. That’s equal to about 5 new cars – and that’s just for a typical 2- bedroom house! Imagine the impact every time a new skyscraper is constructed. With an entire ‘New York’ being constructed every month for the next 40 years, it’s no wonder people are concerned about the impact this has on a planet that’s already near breaking point.

Consequently there have been developments that show the industry has noticed and is adapting to suit our environmentally conscious society. ‘Green buildings’ or ‘Green construction’ is the new normal in 2020. More and more companies are expected to adopt these new building techniques as our concern for environmental safeguarding continues.

worms eye view of skycrapers in black and white

Green buildings typically use 25% less energy and create 34% less carbon dioxide emissions than a standard building. According to the World Green Building Council; “a ‘green’ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life”.

But what does this mean for our industry? How can window blinds be made more eco-friendly?

Well, there are a few simple ways that the blinds industry can make sure we are assisting in creating sustainable blinds, while still fulfilling the design and technological needs of the modern consumer.   

The first and easiest way is to use blind materials that are made from sustainable or recycled materials.

There are many different options if you want to use a recycled fabric for your blinds. Our Spectrum 4060 fabric is an aluminium backed screen fabric made from 100% recycled PET bottles. PET is commonly used for packaging e.g. plastic containers, drinks bottles. Whilst PET is highly recyclable, it is difficult to reuse to make food-grade products such as bottles and containers. This is why it is used by so many other industries to make things like fabrics.

Another benefit of using Spectrum 4060 is that the aluminium backing reflects heat and glare and can reduce internal temperatures. This makes a more comfortable environment to work or live in, and reduces the need for air conditioning. Similarly the aluminium backing will reduce heat loss in the winter and lessen the need for central heating. This will reduce energy consumption as well as running costs.

Many new roller blind fabrics being manufactured are made from recycled materials, so the options are not limited. A few of our favourites are Revolution, Screen Nature/Ultimetal, Eco Planet, and Sea Planet.

plastic bottle floating in ocean

Sea Planet, from Vertisol, is made up in part of plastic that has been collected from the sea bed. According to marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans every day. Materials made from plastic recovered from our oceans positively impacts the environment and the wildlife in our seas.

The second way to reduce the environmental impact of your blinds is to go for a motorised option. Whilst it may sound counter productive to use electricity to reduce energy consumption, there are many ways in which it can help.

Products like the Sunis Wirefree RTS sun sensor can be ideal when it comes to creating energy efficient blinds. The sensor works by lowering the blind when the sun is up and opening it again when it’s dark out. When the sun is out and it’s warm, the sensor will lower the blind to reduce the amount of heat and glare coming in. Similarly, if its dark and cold outside, the blinds will stay open to allow as much natural daylight and warmth in as possible.

sun shining on grassy field

Approximately 75% of blinds stay in the same position all day. This means heat and light levels are fluctuating constantly and making it difficult to maintain a consistent temperature. A blind that opens and closes automatically can make a huge difference in creating a comfortable environment. As a result it can also save on your energy bills.

Lastly, it’s important to choose a high quality manufacturer that uses mostly aluminium components in their systems.

According to The International Aluminium Institute, 75% of aluminium ever produced (almost 1 billion tonnes) is still in productive use. The recycling of post-consumer aluminium products saves over 90 million tonnes of CO2, and over 100,000 GWh of electrical energy. That’s equivalent to the annual power consumption of the Netherlands.

smoke leaving industrial chimneys at sunrise

For the blinds industry this means we don’t have to be concerned that with every new blind produced we are causing an irreparable amount of damage to the planet. At the end of a blinds life cycle we can be safe in the knowledge that most of the components can be recycled and used again.

To find out more about how we can provide you with eco-friendly blinds get in touch with us at sales@umbrashading.co.uk

Or, to find out more about plastic pollution and the environmental impact it has check out ‘Surfers Against Sewage’; https://www.sas.org.uk/