NEWS – NOVEMBER 2020
How Motorized Shades Changed My Life
some things seem optional until you’ve had a chance to live with them.
By Cris pyle
IN THE WORLD OF TODAY’S RESIDENTIAL TECHNOLOGY, there are some things — like a robust home network — that are generally agreed to be as necessary as air and water, and then there are those things that seem optional – like motorized window shades — until you’ve had a chance to live with them.
My husband and I installed Lutron Serena smart shades in our master bedroom, ensuite bathroom, and closet during a remodel about 12 months ago. Lutron is one of the most highly regarded manufacturers of lighting control systems in the world, and the Serena series is their entry-level shading product line. There are, of course, other great product solutions, including from Crestron and Hunter Douglas, and choices at all budget levels.
Not only is it incredibly convenient to control the shades through the app or small remote/keypad (and I do find the remote vital as I often walk upstairs forgetting my phone), but I’ve also set schedules and scenes that ensure privacy in our downtown urban neighborhood.
The schedule allows you to automate the shades to open or close (at whatever height you like) at a certain time (or many times) each day, and you set it by shade and by day so it is completely personalized to your specific needs. Scenes allow you to set up an event or “mood” so whether you are watching television or enjoying a romantic dinner, you can control the exterior light.
With Lutron and Crestron, you can go much further to control all subsystems (shading, lighting, HVAC, music, entertainment and more) together to really customize your living environment. That’s where a technology designer comes in to understand how you want to live in your home and then designs, installs and programs a system so everything works easily and seamlessly for you.
One concern I’ve heard, particularly from designers, about motorized shades is the limitation of available fabrics. As you move up the product lines, the fabric choices absolutely increase, and become much more luxurious, but are not limitless. In many instances, designers layer window treatments so that the beautiful Schumacher fabric can be a fixed or functional roman blind or drapery panel, which is what I did in my own home. Both Lutron and Creston also have systems to motorize drapery panels across a track and then virtually any fabric may be used.
So how has my life changed? I’m sleeping better with my blackout blinds, our energy usage is optimized as we can easily keep sun out in summer and in during winter, and perhaps most importantly, my OCD remains under control because my shades are always perfectly level.
Cris Pyle has over 15 years of experience in the residential technology industry, leading marketing teams on the manufacturer and association sides.