We all want a comfortable home. From the squishiness of your duvet to the warm, smart-controlled lighting, it’s likely that you have considered almost every aspect of the inside of your home furnishings and window treatments in the search for that perfect space to relax.
But how often do you look outside the building? When glare and direct sunlight become a problem, not many of us take the time to think about what happens before the light gets to the glass of our windows. However, the rise of external shading in commercial and residential properties shows that more people are turning to this innovative alternative to get the light control and home comfort they seek.
What do we mean by ‘external shading’, and what are the benefits of it? Read on!
Internal Shading vs. External Shading
The clue is in the title. Internal shading is when you add something to your windows inside your home to control heat and light. The three most common ways to do this are:
External shading, by contrast, is when you add something to the outside of your window to manage the sun’s rays. Consider:
- External shutters or blinds
- Growing a large oak tree
Yes, that last one is a bit of a joke, but it shows how much some people are willing to do when looking to improve shading and privacy. In addition to these two methods (we’re not really counting the tree), there is a new form of external shuttering that’s migrating from the commercial sector to make its impression in the home market: Microlouvres.
What are Microlouvres?
Microlouvres, as the word suggests, are a form of external shuttering where the louvres – the slats that make up the shuttering – are incredibly thin. Microlouvres are affixed to the outside of your window.
KoolShade is the official name of the product, made exclusively in the UK by SmartLouvre. From its beginnings in the late 1980s, MicroLouvre offers a unique solution to light control that’s been used to provide a comfortable working environment in offices, schools, and hospitals worldwide for years. Now, it’s a style that’s growing in the residential sector, desired for its unique properties, incredibly long lifespan, and zero-maintenance aspect.
The Benefits of MicroLouvre
The most important aspect of any window covering is how good it is at light control. Here, Microlouvres are second to none, providing a unique light management system that feels futuristic.
Rather than simply blocking out the sun, as is the method of all traditional window coverings, Microlouvres can fine-tune the angle of the sun’s light, directing it precisely as you need it. At one end of the spectrum, this means a Microlouvre system can provide near-total sunblock when required, but throughout the day, you will experience different levels of sunblock depending on its position in the sky.
Problems such as glare become a distant memory, enabling you to keep your rooms sunlit without any unwanted effects. It’s possible to watch TV, for example, or work on a computer, with absolutely no bothersome reflected light – yet the room remains filled with natural light.
When it comes to looking out and enjoying the scenery, the Microlouvres are entirely unobtrusive, meaning your view is as wide and open as it ever was.
Microlouvres can be fitted on any window size, offering a perfect solution to large windows where light is a key feature.
Something rarely considered when selecting internal shading is how it affects the room’s heat- especially when trying to keep a room cool. As the shading, whether it be blinds, shutters, or curtains, is on the inside of the window, by the time the heat radiating from the sun is blocked by it, it’s already in the building.
This means that heat builds up between the shade and the window itself, bouncing around until it leaks as best as it can, either through or around the window covering. While premium internal coverings, such as shutters, do a good job at keeping a room cool when closed, the science means it is never truly perfect.
External shading with Microlouvres, on the other hand, block the sun’s rays before they get in the room, bouncing unwanted heat back even before it’s met the window. This can reduce the heat gain by up to 80% and makes Microlouvres exceptionally cost-effective, especially when compared to the running costs of ventilation and air conditioning.
What’s more, this is all accomplished without blocking out the light. The fine-tuned control of the Microlouvres means heat can be dissipated without plunging the room into darkness. It’s like magic!
When it comes to privacy, Microlouvres are an unparalleled solution. The system’s hair-thin louvres restrict a clear view from the outside, looking in when you want it to, again without inhibiting your view of the world beyond; it really has to be seen to be believed.
Microlouvres are a favourite of museums thanks to their light-control properties. Warm sunlight can enter the room but is redirected away from exhibits, meaning they are protected from the bleaching properties of the sun.
This preservation aspect works for your home, too! The external shading preserves your furnishings, books on shelves, and other possessions, ensuring they won’t fade or be affected by exposure to months and years of harsh light.
One of the final great benefits of Microlouvres is the zero-maintenance aspect. They do not need cleaning and are made with high-quality, robust, corrosion-resistant materials. Once installed, you can just let it be.
Depending on your preference, the Microlouvre screen can be removed to allow for the cleaning of underlying windows, or these can be pressure washed without any harm to the external shading system.
Investing in Microlouvres with the Scottish Shutter Company
Microlouvres are a long-lasting window covering that is a great investment in your home. For more information, download a brochure or visit us at the Scottish Shutter Company to see this incredible external shading system for yourself.