What are solar shading screens?
Solar shading screens help reduce heat and glare inside the home. While shading screens are a common feature on homes overseas, the UK has only recently started to adopt them.
Part of the reason for their popularity now is the increasing prevalence of extensions, sun rooms, oversize doors, and other glazed areas that while attractive, serve to increase the level of heat in the home. Most British homes were not designed to withstand high temperatures – climate change and increasingly hot summers are therefore also driving adoption. Powered solar shading screens help:
- Shade your home
- Reduce glare
- Reduce heat
- Protect your home and fabrics from UV bleaching
- Increase airflow
- Create climate-controlled spaces
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Well made and practical
Solar screens are made of special mesh, often a polyester or fibreglass weave, with a PVC coating for added durability. They are installed on doors and windows – inside or outside – to reduce ‘solar gain’ (increase in light and heat), reduce glare, and allow insect-free ventilation of your home.
Solar shading screens work in a variety of ways, depending on the design and mesh you choose. Meshes can block up to 95% of the sun’s UV rays. But whichever mesh you choose, you will see gains when it comes to controlling heat build-up in your home, keeping your home insect free, and reducing glare.
Read about a whole house solar shading project here.
Control the heat
Solar shades are designed to help you manage the heat. They do this most successfully when installed on all windows and doors in the whole property. Unlike window tinting and other methods of deflecting heat, solar screens allow you to keep your doors and windows open, which introduces a breeze to further cool your home.
When fitted externally, powered solar shades are even more effective as they can be deployed against closed windows and doors to prevent more of the heat from entering the home. This is an approved strategy of preventing overheating in the Part O building regulations – which must now be followed in the development of all new residential buildings. Read our guide to the Part O regulations here.
Ready to reduce heat in your home? Speak to our team.
Manual or automated shading
Our manual retractable screens and our automated power screens offer a wider choice of meshes for enhanced solar performance. Our power screen is a fully automated system that can be designed to fully recess from view when retracted. Smart features can be added including sun and wind sensors, and they can be connected to home automation systems like Alexa, Siri and Cortana.
We also supply and fit automated blinds for solar shading – find out more.
Working on a self build project? We’d love to hear about your self building journey – see what Phantom Screens can offer new self build developments here.
A healthier option
Unlike tinted window film or glass – permanent additions that don’t allow for a breeze – solar shading screens allow air to circulate and can be opened and closed any time, independently of doors and windows. As a result, shading screens are a practical way of reducing glare, controlling heat build-up, and introducing a breeze.
Just like our bodies, homes need to introduce fresh air and expel used air. Unventilated homes can build up unhealthy pollutants, dust and moisture; all of which can have a detrimental effect on health.
With the country now experiencing prolonged periods of heat, solar shades are an increasingly sensible home addition.
What about energy use?
When you fit solar shading screens, you reduce the heat load coming through glazing, reduce your need for electric cooling, and therefore reduce your energy costs.
Homes in the UK are rarely kitted out with air conditioning, but the use of fans, sometimes through the night, can add to increasing energy costs.
Because shading screens give you more control over the temperature of your home, the need for electric cooling is reduced.
In addition to energy savings, shading screens block much of the ultraviolet radiation that causes fading and damage to textiles.
Window shading screens also reduce glare from reflective surfaces such as water, making your home more comfortable for things like reading or watching television.
‘Solar gain’ is the term we use to define the increase in temperature of a building, object or space caused by solar radiation. This is also known as ‘solar heat gain’ or ‘passive solar gain’. The amount of solar gain in your home is affected by the amount of sunlight coming through your glass doors and windows.
Phantom Screens reduce the amount of solar radiation that is transmitted into your home, which in turn helps to reduce solar gain. Until homes are properly adapted for increasing temperatures, shading screens can play an important role in managing solar gain.
And the reason they’re call Phantom Screens? Because when they’re not in use, you won’t notice they’re there – meaning no impact on design and décor.
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Outside or inside fitting
All our screens can be fitted internally or externally and power screens can be fully recessed.
They are powder coated to marine grade to protect them from the elements and are therefore weatherproof. The motorised components of an automated Phantom Screen are protected from the elements inside the head box. These are also secured or zipped along all four edges, to hold the mesh securely. This makes them suitable for outside installations, even in a windy country like the UK.
Ready to find out more? Speak to our team of experts here.