June 29, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
It doesn’t mean you’re lazy if you’ve decided to install motorized window treatments. It means you’re smart.
Granted, there’s something slightly sloth-like about being able to open and shut the shades while seated on the couch, but there are so many other reasons to implement the technology than sheer convenience. When window treatments are motorized, they can save your furniture’s upholstery from fading, cut your heating and cooling costs and take advantage of the natural sunshine as a source of light, for example.
Here’s a list of the best reasons to motorize:
1. It saves energy. It’s 90 degrees in the shade. Left to stream in through the windows, all that sunshine can make certain rooms of your house feel like an oven. When set up by a custom electronics professional (CE pro), the motors attached to the window shades could roll down the fabric automatically when a photocell (sun) sensor or a temperature sensor is triggered. In the wintertime, the opposite can happen. When it’s sunny, the shades could raise to harvest the natural sunlight to help heat the room.
2. It lets you dim or turn off the lights. On a sunny day your east-facing kitchen is bright enough without any lamps on. Ditto for the family room in the afternoon. By synchronizing the operation of the motorized shades and lights (this may require some type of home control system), you can have the light fixtures dim or turn off completely whenever the shades in these rooms are in the raised position and during certain times of the day.
3. It adds a sense of security. Your empty house can look as if it’s occupied when the shades raise and lower randomly throughout the day. You’ll feel safe and secure when you’re home, too, by being able to close all the shades at the press of a button.
4. It preserves your privacy. Motorized shades in the bedrooms could be set up to close automatically right before bedtime and open right before the alarm rings. A similar setup could be designed for the bathroom blinds (down before you usually shower, for example).
5. It saves time. Count up how many windows are in your house. Now think about how long it takes you to close the shades before you leave for work, vacation or an afternoon of running errands. Being able to shut them all (then open them all when you return) by pressing a button would save you tons of time. It might also take awhile to get all those drapes in the right position when preparing for a party. A CE pro can design a system that can set up the drapes exactly the way you like.
6. It makes movies better. We all know movies look better in a dark room. The same command on your remote that dims the room lights could also shut the shades. Having the shades closed over the reflective glass windows during a movie might also improve the room acoustics so that the movie sounds better, too.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.