Motorized window shades and automatic blinds are some of the hottest products for the savvy smart home buyer who wants to maximize their energy savings and have a smarter home. The ability to control your shades with a smart phone, or have them automatically open or close based on timers or pre-programmed conditions is not only a cool home feature, but it saves time and energy buy using or defending against the sun’s rays.
Motorized blinds and shades can be part of a complete custom home automation system, or they can be added one room at a time, as your budget or needs require. One of the nice things about automatic shades in a home automation system is that each room can be programmed to run its own scenes in its own way, depending on how the room is used. Here are a few great examples on how automated window treatments can enhance different rooms.
Some people have a lot of trouble waking up in the morning, especially when the bedroom blinds are keeping the room dark. Motorized blinds can be programmed to automatically open when your alarm goes off, or, if you don’t need to wake at a specific time, they can be synced with a smart home system that triggers the blind to open at sunrise (based on an astronomical clock). Conversely, if you need the blinds closed when you’re getting dressed, you can program them to automatically give you privacy when you exit the shower. A professional integrator can come up with several ways to achieve this.
You can use the sun to warm your living room in the morning, and insulate it in the evening, by setting your shades to automatically open when the sun is shining on one side of the house, and close when the sun has moved away. If you’re worried about furniture, rugs or art fading from sun exposure, automated shades can keep those damaging rays away without you having to be home to close anything.
The dining room is a great place to use motorized window shades. Few things ruin a pleasant evening meal than the setting sun blinding you while you’re trying to eat with your family. Set your dining room shades to close at dinner time. They can open automatically an hour later if you like, or just stay closed for the night.
If you have a dedicated home theater or media room, you don’t want any sun washing out the picture on your projection screen or flat panel TV. Motorized shades can be programmed to close at the same time you press the play button to watch your favorite movie. If you’re not ready for that kind of integration yet, simple app or remote-controlled shades can make it easier for you to create the right atmosphere for movie time without costing a lot.
High-hallways, foyers and special windows
Many modern (and classic too) homes feature windows in high, out of the way places. These are nice design features, especially if they capture the morning sun. But they can also be impossible to manage with manual shades or blinds. In the absence of a ladder, motorized shades are not only the best, but are also the only way you can control the light from those high and out-of-the-way windows.
If you’re ready to start hanging some motorized shades, blinds or curtains around your house, check out these options:
QMotion Motorized Drapery
QMotion’s motorized curtain system uses a rod rather than a track system, so it looks just like any standard window curtain rod. The difference is that the QMotion motorized drapery rod lets you open and close your drapes with a remote. The system is wireless and battery operated, so you don’t have to have a professional run power to the wall, and the motor is hidden inside the rod itself. The remote operates on five wireless FM channels (so far there is no smart phone app control). You can configure each button to control one set of drapes or a group. If you happen to be standing at the window, you can easily override the motorized control by just opening or closing the drapes with the motion-sensitive drapery wand.
Lutron Serena Shades
Lutron Serena honeycomb and roller remote-controlled shades use an ultra-efficient (and quiet) drive technology and a 3-5 year battery life, so replacing batteries will be a rarity. And because the shades operate via a remote, you can adjust them from anywhere in the room, giving convenience and control. They can also be integrated with Lutron’s Smart Bridge or Smart Bridge Pro.