There is no denying that external blinds add a modern, luxurious finish to a home. Thanks to their chic look and timeless finish, you could be forgiven for thinking they are really only a nice-to-have accessory. For this reason, many decide to eliminate the cost from building budgets when the remaining spend becomes tight.
However, not installing external blinds – or choosing air conditioning instead – will have an enormous impact on the indoor temperature and comfort of your home – and your ongoing energy costs – for years to come.
The external blind industry was valued at $11.34 billion in 2022, and growth is expected to continue as global temperatures continue to increase and clients become more conscious of their environmental footprint.
What Are External Blinds?
Exterior blinds are dynamic (i.e. movable) outdoor shading structures designed to reflect heat from the sun before the sun’s rays have a chance to penetrate a building. As the name would suggest, they are installed on the outside of a window to provide protection against harsh weather and maintain a home’s internal aesthetic. External blinds have been proved to be significantly more effective at reducing indoor temperatures than internal shading.
What Are The Benefits of External Blinds?
Over 4.6m million homes in the UK have experienced summertime overheating. With UK summers only predicted to get hotter, there are a number of benefits realised by installing external blinds, including:
The best way to reduce solar gain within a building is to eliminate its entrance in the first place. Light and heat generally enter a home through the windows. This means the greater the percentage of glazing in a home, the higher the indoor temperature is likely to be.
While air conditioning can help to reduce internal temperatures, they cannot eliminate the root cause, which is sun entering the room through the glazing. If you want to keep buildings at an ambient temperature at all times of the year, an external blind is the best and most cost-efficient option. By reducing the summer sun and preventing heat loss during the colder months, properties are kept comfortable and running efficiently.
Unlike fixed louvres or shutters, external blinds can be raised out the way when not required to provide shading. This allows more light into your home and minimises the need for artificial lighting.
A 7 Degree Temperature Reduction
A recent installation to penthouses at Gloucester County Cricket Ground, Bristol, demonstrated how effective external blinds can be at reducing indoor temperatures. Prior to the installation, the top floor temperatures were experiencing internal temperatures of up to 28 degrees Celsius.
After the installation, the temperature inside the apartments had reduced by 7 degrees to a comfortable 21 degrees Celsius – with no air conditioning required.
In continuation to the last point, external blinds improve the cost efficiency within a home or commercial building. Homeowners save on air-conditioning costs in the summer, and heating costs in winter, as the blinds can be raised out the way to maximise winter solar gain.
With two-thirds of UK homeowners wanting to make energy-efficient improvements, external blinds are a smart decision as their cost-saving benefits can be continually experienced for years.
Cost Neutral with Air Conditioning
Actually, external blinds cost roughly the same to install (on average) as air-conditioning. The difference is in the running costs.
External blinds require almost no maintenance and very little electricity to run, and will keep your home cool year after year.
Air conditioning is energy-intensive and needs to be serviced once a year. The filters should also be cleaned every month or two to prevent them being clogged. The running and maintenance costs add up over time, not to mention the environmental impact of all that extra energy.In
In summary: the upfront cost of external blinds or air conditioning is, on average, about the same. The running costs of external blinds are considerably less than air conditioning, as they do not require regular maintenance and servicing, and use a lot less energy overall.
Better For The Environment
Saving money and resources for utilities are not the only ways external blinds offer an strong environmental alternative to AC.
External blinds, including our range, are typically made from long-lasting, recyclable materials like aluminium. In addition to their sustainable construction, they also support the environment in other ways in keeping spaces at a comfortable ambient temperature. The blinds contribute towards reduced energy use in summer and winter, reducing your carbon impact overall.
Investment in the Future
We understand that costs often become tight when carrying out renovation or new-build projects, and it’s tempting to cut items which don’t seem totally necessary. However, it is worth including external blinds if at all possible, as they are an investment in your future comfort.
As our summers get warmer, and winters get colder, maximising energy efficiency of our homes will be even more important in the coming years. Reduced electricity usage also means reduced electricity costs over many years and adds to the value of your home.
Even if external blinds are not in the plans for your new home, it is worthwhile making provisions for them to be installed in the future. This could include allowing space in the soffit and a fused spur or having an electrical connection nearby. Preparing in advance will make the installation much more seamless later on.
The Kensington Systems Solution
When we are specifying external blinds, future proofing and solar efficiency is of paramount importance to us. If you are considering installing external blinds for the long-term comfort and energy efficiency of your property, contact us.