(NC) – Can you imagine living without the modern comforts of your home? The amenities we've become accustomed to, like dishwashers, home heating or stain-and-fade-resistant fabrics, are standard features in today's interiors. For those who want the newest innovations in their home, two categories lead the way: light control and energy management. Sally Morse, director of creative services at window fashions company Hunter Douglas, gives us the scoop on lighting and energy use:
Managing Light: Window Treatments
The earliest windows were just holes in the wall. “The evolution of windows is remarkable,” says Morse, “From hide coverings to panes made of translucent animal horn, then thin slices of marble, oiled paper, then finally glass. And the shapes and sizes of windows changed too, requiring innovations to the original window treatments invented by the Egyptians 4,000 years ago. Ever since, people have translated the core concept of a simple covering that blocks out light into myriad styles with increasing functionality.”
New breakthroughs date back to 1946 when Hunter Douglas brought out the world's first lightweight aluminum Venetian blinds; before that they were made of unwieldy steel. The company kept on innovating and in response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s, this ingenuity included the creation of the original honeycomb shade by blending a highly energy-efficient cellular structure that traps air with soft, colourful fabrics. Today, the popular Hunter Douglas Duette Architella honeycomb shades take the cellular structure and make it even more energy-efficient by placing another cell within the cell.
Another innovative window treatment is the company's Silhouette window shadings, which are now available with a true room-darkening option – Silhouette A Deux shadings. This choice combines Silhouette shadings with a room-darkening roller shade that sits behind it on the same headrail, yet operates independently.
Temperature: Save Energy and Time
“It's so easy to control room temperature these days,” says Morse. “
Take a look at the Nest thermostat, an extraordinary advancement for the home.” After a few days of turning it up and down, or adjusting it so you are completely comfortable day and night, it “learns” what you like and automatically sets the correct temperature on its own, evengetting it right when you're away. In addition, it connects with your smartphone so you can change the temperature when you are miles from home and adjust your preferences for when you walk in the door.
Artificial Lighting: More than the Bulb
Light-emitting diodes or LED-based lights are increasingly popular. With distinct advantages over incandescent light sources – including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness and smaller size – they are a smart choice for every room of the house. And while LEDs are not inexpensive, their durability and low power usage mitigate the initial cost.
Recessed ceiling lights, under-counter lights, chandeliers, sconces, nearly every style of home lighting you can think of is now available with LEDs. In addition, there are sofa frames and tables, draperies and even wallcoverings equipped with this type of light. “It is actually awe-inspiring to see how designers incorporate LEDs in their work,” Morse says.
A New Age of Enlightenment: The Connected Home
Home automation is developing at a rapid rate, and the connected home is at the top of many an agenda. From robotic vacuum cleaners to motorized window dressings, operation is automatic.
For example, with the Hunter Douglas Platinum App, it just takes a tap of the finger to easily preset and reset the precise positioning of multiple motorized window treatments. The app is now available for Android as well as Apple mobile devices.
“Call it what you will,” says Morse, “innovation, progress, or simply, change. One thing is certain, we're riding a wave of creativity, and I can't wait to see what the coming years will bring.”
More information is available online at www.hunterdouglas.ca.
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