The Top 9 Ways Motorized Shades Make Your Home Better
As a homeowner, you want to live in the most comfortable, secure, and entertaining environment possible. Smart home amenities, from a high-performance media room to practical lighting control to music in every room of the home, are on the rise. However, there is no feature that provides as much convenience, privacy, comfort, and safety every day, all day, as motorized shading. In fact, they are one of the most requested smart home features by interior designers, architects, and homeowners alike.
To properly implement smart motorized shades in every room of the home you need a professional home technology integrator who knows how to properly specify, install, program, and tie them all together in one cohesive interface for easy control. When there’s an interior designer on the project, it also helps to have an integrator who knows how to work with designers to select the right fabrics. The Home Technology Association (HTA) has certified technology integrators all over the country who are happy to collaborate on your shading project and will work with you or your interior designer to create the best possible outcome.
Below is the HTA’s guide to the ways motorized shading can make any home better, plus a few tips on how to get started and available options.
The Top 9 Ways Motorized Shades Make Your Home Better
1) Convenience - The number-one advantage of smart motorized shades over non-smart window coverings is convenience. You can raise and lower all the shades in your home at once. You can group shades by room. Your HTA Certified pro can program them so that they automatically raise or lower to predetermined levels throughout the day without you having to lift a finger. You can even set your motorized shades to various “scenes” that work in conjunction with other smart home features like climate and lighting. For example, you might have a “Work” mode that allows some natural light in during the day. At night, the shades can lower and the lights can go up naturally to transition you into “Relax” mode.
2) Privacy - Perhaps the most obvious benefit of motorized shades is privacy. They do what every window treatment does: shield your home from the outside world. Only with smart shades, you get the additional benefits of technology as outlined here. It’s the ultimate marriage of privacy and convenience.
3) Safety - Safety might not be the first thing you think about when you are considering smart window treatments. Because they can be programmed and automated, however, motorized shades can go up and down during various times of the day. If you are on vacation, this could help your home look occupied, especially in combination with smart lighting control.
4) Protection - Harsh sunlight is a destroyer of art and furniture. It makes colors fade with prolonged exposure. Motorized shades can protect your art, furnishings, and even your walls from fade or deterioration over time by automatically lowering during the most sun-intensive times of the day.
5) Preserve the View - Motorized shades come in various levels of transparency. You might choose a more transparent shade material if you have a view that you want to preserve while also eliminating harsh sunlight and glare. “Shades are one of the most impactful decisions to the overall atmosphere of a space. Not only does the physical finish and hue of the hardware and fabric make an impact, but the opacity of the fabric selection can completely alter the feeling of a space, such as light sheer shades to create an airy light-filled sanctuary,” says Greg Barrett, Director of Product Marketing for Lighting & Shades at Savant.
6) Wellness - Likewise, a dark room is a godsend for the light sleeper. It’s also better for you as light can interrupt sleep patterns. An HTA Certified technology integrator can install more than one level of shades per window, such as blackout shades for the night and sheer shades for the day. They can also program the different sets of shades to go up or down depending on the time of day. If it’s bedtime, the blackout shades descend to provide a comfortable sleeping environment. Come morning, the blackout shades go up and the sheer blinds go down.
“Communicate the general function, level of privacy and exposure of each space. This will drive whether the windows should be outfitted with blackout, translucent or sheer shades. In some cases, multiple layers may be introduced to provide complete management of natural light,” adds Barrett.
7) Energy Efficiency & Comfort - By controlling the amount of sunlight you allow into your home you can also keep your home’s temperature more consistent. Raising shades in the colder months can provide added heat from the sun, while lowering them can keep your home nice and cool. All of this will also have a positive effect on your energy bill!
8) Natural Lighting Control - There is a huge movement in home design toward wellness. Motorized and automated window shades and coverings allow you to control the amount of sunlight in your home for a more natural lighting design that allows you to be more in touch with the cycles of the sun and your body’s natural rhythms. Light not only changes the look of the day but also affects the way you feel. Wouldn’t it be nice to adjust the amount of daylight in your home to complement your mood and even transform it?
9) Design - Window treatments are not only functional but can be beautiful. Most automated shade manufacturers provide options in a variety of fabrics that can be worked into the design of a room. Many also provide motorized tracks for window treatments that can be designed by you or an interior designer, allowing complete flexibility when it comes to a room’s design–whether you want thick velvet drapes, roman shades, woven woods, honeycomb shades, horizontal sheer blinds or blackout material.
Motorized Shade Tips and Tricks from the Home Technology Association
Battery Operated or Wired?
Battery-powered shades are cost-effective, easy to maintain, and ideal for areas that require a wire-free solution, such as a retrofit application or windows located on surfaces where wires can’t be pulled. Most top automated shade manufacturers offer both, including Lutron, Savant, and Crestron. While battery-powered solutions provide a similar aesthetic, wired solutions will provide enhanced functionality and remove the need for battery charging or replacement. “For wired shades, integrators will need to coordinate with the rest of the build team to route appropriate wiring to each window opening,” says Barrett.
Mix and Match
Most automated shade manufacturers allow you to mix and match motorized and non-motorized shade options, which is great for homeowners on a budget who can’t afford automation on every window. This allows homeowners to enjoy the same aesthetic across both motorized and manual shades, with matching fabrics and hardware finishes to ensure every space is perfect.
“Often, a homeowner will opt to motorize the shades in the main living spaces but choose manual shades in the bedrooms and other spaces to save money,” says Michelle Guss, Director, Business Development, Crestron. “After living with motorized shades for a while, they usually want to automate the manual shades. Crestron manual and motorized shades use the same hardware and fabrics, so upgrading is easy. In most cases, the upgrade takes just minutes.”
Go Big at Home
How big can motorized shades go, you ask? It varies by manufacturer. Savant Shades can be designed with a width of up to 8 feet per shade panel for standard applications, or up to 10 feet for special applications. Multiple Savant shade panels can be coupled together, to provide full coverage of larger curtain walls, which celebrates the architecture of the space while minimizing any light gap at the mullions.
Crestron shades can go as wide as 15 feet and as long as 20 feet, but square footage of fabric and weight have a lot to do with capacity. A typical maximum size for Crestron motorized shades is 10 feet wide x 20 feet tall using the standard 2.5-inch aluminum tube, but they can accommodate shades up to 15 feet wide with their larger 2.75-inch steel shade tube.
For residential applications, Lutron can comfortably cover 12 feet x 12 feet windows with either wired or battery roller solutions. However, they often go bigger – depending on the fabric selected, the pocket size available, and the ability to provide wired power.
Top tips for Designers and Architects Working with a Technology Integrator to Install Motorized Shades
Designers and architects should consider the following when working with a home technology integrator to ensure maximum performance and impact for the homeowner:
- As with all technology for the home, shading should be discussed early in the design process to ensure the best end result for the client (architects & interior designers: download the HTA's Project Technology Assessment form here to help with this). “Connecting with an integrator early in the project timeline makes it possible for you to satisfy your client’s technology needs while still guaranteeing that you achieve your aesthetic vision,” says Kathryn Chiarelli, Residential Shades Sales Leader at Lutron. “There are many options available today that can accentuate your designs – the key is prioritizing thinking about technology early when you have the most flexibility. When walls are open, it’s simpler to coordinate getting wires to the windows. When you are still planning your window details, you have the opportunity to incorporate pockets of the appropriate size for the window treatments you want. Integrators today are sophisticated and design-savvy and can tie different technologies together to give your clients a seamless experience.”
- Coordination on window style and finishes drive what solutions are best for the space.
- Coordinate with your technology integrator on any changes to window openings, trims or hardware that may affect the physical installation of shading.
- Looking to achieve a certain aesthetic? Your integrator is your technology partner that can suggest innovative solutions for mounting or recessing the shades in any location.
- Use the tools at your disposal. Crestron, for example, offers shade design tools free of charge that include fabric decks, shade hardware kits, and more. Many manufacturers have dedicated fabric websites to make selections easier, such as Lutron's Fabric Collections website and Savant's Shade Product Guide. The Home Technology Association’s technology budget estimator also creates quick and easy shading budget ranges.
- Visit the manufacturer’s showroom for inspiration and to connect to the design community. Local HTA Certified technology integrators may have a showroom and local projects to show, as well.
Hire an HTA Certified professional to help you implement your automated shading systems to the fullest of their capabilities. These qualified home technology integrators have the experience necessary working in the shade category to install them correctly and experience with the best motorized shading manufacturers, which you can find here. Contact one today!