New Energy Rating System for Window Coverings & Attachments Industry

The idea of energy efficiency continues to grow in importance and popularity. Consumers like choices, and well designed rating systems that help them make prudent choices are well received and highly utilized.  In the realm of consumer appliances, ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide are great examples of widely recognized labels…tools that assist consumers with comparing the most efficient models to make an ultimate choice.  Until recently, no rating mechanism has existed to rate window attachments (aka window treatments, window coverings) and products.

win·dow treat·ment – noun 

  1. interior decoration for a window or window frame.

Many types of window attachments (both interior and exterior), such as blinds, drapery, shutters, solar shades and awnings…are often used for what’s normally considered aesthetic purposes and controlling the direct and ambient light entering a room. However, many Americans aren’t aware that cost effective, energy conserving window covering strategies indeed exist for both residential homes and commercial buildings.  The Department of Energy estimates potential nationwide energy savings of 800 Trillion British Thermal Units (tBTU).

The Window Coverings Manufacturers Association (WCMA) is developing a certification and rating program for residential and commercial fenestration attachment products. In conjunction with U.S Department of Energy funding…the Attachments Energy Ratings Council (AERC) was created April 2015…with their member organizations first meeting at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. The AERC’s mission is to provide the technical tools necessary to transform the attachments market by providing a useful resource for consumers to make informed energy decisions…specifically:

  • Create a consistent set of third-party energy performance-based rating and certification standards and program procedures
  • Oversee the implementation of rating, certification, labeling, and performance verification procedures
  • Develop and maintain a publicly available, searchable electronic database of fenestration attachment product performance.

window attachments on front of San Jose State University Library

The AERC defines fenestration attachments as “non-integral products attached to an installed fenestration or attached to or near the perimeter of the inner or outer wall surrounding the fenestration. Attachments may be fixed or operable, manual or automated.”

fen·es·tra·tion  – /fenəˈstrāSHən/ – noun – ARCHITECTURE

  1. the arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows and doors in a building
  2. an opening in a surface (as a wall or membrane)


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A Healthy View on Window Coverings

Allergy sufferers have been growing at alarming rates in recent years, and while global warming has been given much credit for at least part of the growth…our homes and workplaces are often blamed for their fair share too.  Vigilant home and building owners are seeking out alternative construction materials and other available products that help mitigate the number of toxins and irritating substances… potentially impacting allergy issues to any positive extent.  It’s synergistic with other large trends toward energy efficiency, sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Floor coverings, paint and other decorative furnishings have also been changing over the years in direct response to consumer demands for low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products and carbon friendly alternatives. The window coverings industry  has also participated in this trend…with recent innovative technological advancements producing some progressive products that have helped satisfy these newer public demands.

softness of custom drapery fabric & natural wood blinds

Oekotex is an internationally acknowledged green certification entity that evolved out of the public outcry against toxic and other harmful chemicals utilized in the textile manufacturing process. Fabrics and other materials used to produce drapery, blinds and window shades are subjected to rigorous independent testing to ensure the absence of any potentially harmful, legally regulated or even bonafide  illegal substances…in addition to other health related standards.  Indeed, passing products must actually minimize overall impact on the environment…as well as improve air quality indoors and generally aid in energy conservation.

The Oekotex certification process must not only be passed for the products themselves…but the manufacturing process as well.  Finally, the manufacturing process for the fabrics must use renewable non-polluting energy.

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Decorating – 5 Essential Keys

Getting closer to that big move to your new home this Spring/Summer?  Let these decorating concepts permeate your thinking as you get closer to the big day:

  1. Space – A real beginning point that tells you what you have to work with in each room.  Start with the physical dimensions. Then visually expand by keeping the color contrast between walls and windows to a minimum. To make a room feel cozier, create a high contrast. Natural light and light diffusion through window coverings create dramatic visual effects in a space.
  2. Color – Is the major mood determinant for a room.  It intensifies as you increase the area of coverage.  Here are some Rules of thumb:
    • Allow your main color to occupy 75 percent of a room (including floor and wall space)…
    • With 15 to 20 percent for your secondary color and…
    • 10 percent for an accent color.

    Neutral-toned window treatments go well in rooms where you’ll spend a lot of time or when you want other furnishings to make bold statements. But when you want window treatments to be the special accent or coordinating feature that pulls a room together, Hunter Douglas offers an abundance of colors, textures, sheens, and treatments to provide privacy and light control and meet your decorating needs.

  3. Lines – impact the overall feel of a room. Vertical lines add height and dignity. Horizontal lines suggest relaxation and informality. Round windows, fabric folds and soft objects lessen the harshness of a room’s lines.
  4. Form is the shape or combinations of shapes of the elements in a room. If you have square windows, window treatments can lengthen them and give them a taller, more rectangular look.
  5. Texture – adds interest to a room. Window treatments in metal, wood, and a vast palette of fabric colors, patterns and finishes offer many textural options to explore. Dramatic contrasts are in.

More Decorating Tips for Sharper Perspective

  • Avoid clutter by displaying only a few large and wonderful objects you love.
  • Use a few large pieces of furniture to make a small space appear larger.
  • Utilize the same floor covering throughout to make all the rooms feel bigger.
  • Group related items on a wall to create a strong focal point and pull a room together.
  • Make comfort and convenience your top decorating priority when arranging furniture.
  • Focus next on composition (color, balance and scale) to create visual interest and add your personal style.
  • Present a consistent exterior image with white backing on all window treatments.

Window Covering Ideas for Creative Stimulation

Moving this Spring/Summer?  Ever read the notorious new-age book, Creative Visualization?  It’s described generically as “the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one’s thoughts and expectations” (Wikipedia).  Couldn’t we all use a dose of that occasionally! But if visualization techniques are a bit too esoteric for your tastes and moving related interior design aspirations…maybe you’d like some more pragmatic suggestions for smoothing your move…next go round.

Like anything else, moving to a new place and starting over again has it’s upsides and downsides.  Sometimes it’s just invigorating to start afresh in a new place…making new friends and acquaintances, and creating a brand new space to nest in and make your own.  The flipside…those very same things can be challenging too…especially when less than enthusiastic family members may not share your optimism.

From the decorating and design perspective, window coverings can have a huge impact on a new living space…bringing more light and openness for example.  On the other hand…a big, fat downside to moving is that taking and successfully reusing window treatments at a new location usually doesn’t turn out well.  Since windows and their corresponding living spaces are fairly unique and one size doesn’t fit all.  When it comes to outfitting the windows to the soul of your new home, finding the balance between function, fashion, affordability and privacy become more fun when you’re infused with a variety of creative new ideas.  Here are a few to get you started:

  • Roman Shades

  • Ombre’ Cheveron Stenciled Panels

  • Yellow Chevron Curtains

  • Lengthening Dining Room Drapes

  • Updating Your Vertical Blinds

  • Sliding Door Window Treatment Solutions

  • Valances are Simplistic

  • Dropcloth Curtains

  • Stenciled Drapery




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living room draperies in traditional san francisco deocr




Moving? 7 Ways to Smooth Your Move

Maybe you’re relocating residences and moving into a newly build home…or possibly one that has accommodated several families before yours.  Either way, moving into a home that’s new for you offers excitement, change and many decisions to be made. Why not jump start the process of moving to your new place…before moving day? Here’s how:

  1. Notebook – start one for the new house. Jot down items to purchase or activities to handle. Include eye-catching fabric and color samples, favorite window product brochures and quotes from movers. Carry your notebook with you to have data handy when you need it.
  2. Floor Plan – sketch one of your new home when you don’t have blueprints. Record measurements of rooms, windows, closets and doors in your notebook. Include distance of window moldings from corners, floor and ceiling. Use measurements or blueprints to make a “to scale” floor plan and determine your furniture placement for moving day. Your movers will love your organization!
  3. DONATE Before you Move – things like furniture, clothing and accessories that aren’t really needed…or won’t mesh with the motif of your new home.  Packing and moving old baggage can be huge drain on the whole relocation process.
  4. Painting – Rooms, Closets & Ceilings that don’t fit with your existing decor ideas…before the move!  It’s so much easier when there are no heavy furnishings to move and the window treatments of your dreams aren’t yet in place.
  5. Kitchen Cupboards, Drawers & Closet Shelves – Clean and paper the inside of each.
  6. Floor Coverings – replace old worn out coverings…or clean carpets before your furniture arrives.  Nothing like a fresh, clean, new home for your family!
  7. Room Light – On a sunny day, visit the new home a take notes on how light shines into each room.  Jot down quick ideas about which window coverings will make the room most usable and comfortable?

Window coverings make an enormous difference in reflecting your personality & style…and your overall enjoyment of your home. They offer privacy, enhance light quality, add beauty…They even help reduce utility bills. Blinds, shades, shutters and drapery are classic treatments that bring style into a room without overpowering it. They’ll last and be valued as long as you own your home!  Whether your new home reflects the tastes of previous owners…or is brand spanking new…you can imbue it with your own personal decorating touch with Allied Drapery Service & Hunter Douglas.

Energy Efficiency Tips for Winter Window Coverings

Installing window coverings throughout a home will minimize the escape of heat and cut down on the use of electricity.

  • Professional Measurement – of your custom window treatments by a seasoned window coverings expert.
  • Honeycomb Construction – the most energy-efficient window treatments utilize it (e.g. Hunter Douglas Duvette)
  • Roller Shades – can be controlled with a chain or an electrical light switch.
  • Louvered Shutters – available in three styles: Cafe, plantation and sliding…including wood and faux-wood construction
  • Minimize Fading from Sun Exposure – Window treatments protect rugs, paintings and furniture fabrics.
  • West-facing Windows – need the most coverage because they allow the hottest light to pass through.
  • South-facing Windows – are the most important natural light source and need only light coverage.

natural wood blinds - custom drapery

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Window Coverings ABCs

The array and depth of so many types of window coverings can sometimes overwhelm a homeowner or business owner with an urgent need to make a choice!   This short primer takes a brief look at a handful of window treatment options that offer expedient, functional and stylish personality to your office or home….including blinds, valances, panels and shutters .

Are you a fan of the popular makeover, house flipping programs on television these days?  One of the most popular home decorating TV networks…HGTV tells us in their “Top 10 Window Treatment Trends,” all-natural woven shades of the matchstick and bamboo variety is one of the most requested window coverings.  While offering privacy by diffusing light, they still allow you to view your beautiful outdoor surroundings.

But whether your tastes are trendy or traditional…you can rejuvenate your window styling with one of these excellent designs.


Affordability and practical ease of use keep blinds as one of the most popular window coverings year in and year out.  Complete privacy and sun blocking can be achieved with a flick of the wrist …and with the right choice, offer light filtering slats as a compromise.  Horizontal or vertical, wood or faux-wood, mini and venetian…the variety of options is staggering.  Clean lines, durability and practical light-weight design, blinds continue to grow in popularity as a perennial window coverings choice.


Photo by Flickr user Alosh Bennett



With a traditional yet versatile flair, valances allow you to dress up your windows without breaking the bank.  They can be hung by themselves or layered on top of curtains, sheers or shades in coordinating colors.  Just about any room is candidate for tailored valances that contain a sewn-in rod pocket at the top with a straight-edged bottom, inviting light to fill up the room. Installing a tier curtain beneath the valance permits a smaller square of a larger window to be visible. Balloon, scalloped, Australian and shaped valances have the same basic look, but differ in decorative shapes and pleats. Easily hung in minutes with a utility rod, valances are one of the most cost effective ways of adding real character to your windows.

window coverings san jose ca

Photo by Flickr user

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Top Designer Advice on Choosing Window Treatments

Scot Meacham Wood, formerly of Ralph Lauren Polo…and since leaving there in 2001…owner of his own self named San Francisco design firm, describes his personal style as “A fresh interpretation of European style, with a dash of Southern hospitality.”  In this interview by HouseBeautiful on the topic of choosing window treatments, Wood articulates seven (7) specific characteristics that he incorporates into the process.

Q: “How do I choose window treatments?”  —Sarah Z.

A: Sarah, maybe it’s just my southern upbringing — or my unending love of textiles — but, I’m a sucker for a beautiful window treatment, so I’m usually going to err on the slightly more lush side of things on this particular topic! Whenever we’re working on a project here at the office, part of our job is allocating budget resources to various parts of the project. Drapery is always one of those places where it pays to spend a bit of money. Beautifully designed and installed drapes will immediately elevate any room!

The other amazing opportunity that window treatments offer is the chance to manipulate the architecture and mood of a room. You’re basically placing a great deal of textile in a space — and well-placed drapes will work wonders.

Here are a few things that always stand out to me:

1. Fullness
Traditionally, you should be looking at 2 to 2½ times the width of the window for the fullness of the drapes. So if your window is 4 feet wide, the ungathered panels should be at least 8 feet wide, or even better, 10 feet.

2. Length
For classic side panels, you really have to go all the way to the floor. If you’re looking at ready-made drapes, make sure that they touch the floor, even if you have to buy the next size up and have them hemmed.

3. Functionality
Oftentimes — and especially when privacy isn’t an issue — we design drapes that really only function to frame the view. Even in these cases when the panels don’t really need to close, they should at least look like they could close.

4. Textile
There are never going to be any hard-set rules about choosing drapery fabrics. This is where design stops being a science and begins to be art. If your other furnishings are leaning towards solid colors, here’s your chance to bring some pattern or at least a punch of color to the room.

Read More – HouseBeautiful

Best Window Coverings for Balancing Lighting & Privacy

How do you make the best choice for a window covering based on individual rooms of the house?  It boils down to 5 or 6 factors that are fairly unique to everyone’s situation:

  1. Budget
  2. Tastes
  3. Needs & Decorating Style
  4. Brightness Level you wish to achieve in each room

These will help you maneuver the decision making while considering a plethora of possibilities.   Here are some guidelines…room by room:

  • Living Room – Horizontal blinds or louvered shutters are your best option if privacy is your top consideration…since louvers can be inclined based on your preference for shade or light without the interior being any more visible to passersby.  If privacy is not an issue, anything goes!  If you choose drapes, err on the side of simplicity, keeping them in a shade similar to that of the wall.
  • Bedroom – Have insomnia challenges?  Then an opaque blind might be your best choice. It can be concealed behind a valance or dressed up with attractive curtains. Other options are rigid horizontal blinds or fabric blinds combined with some curtains for greater opacity.
  • Kitchen –  Pleated blinds or curtains may be more soft and decorative…but wood blinds and faux-wood blinds are easier to maintain. The more rigid the blinds, the easier they are to clean.
  • Bathroom – Horizontal blinds are a practical choice for the powder room.  But choose a waterproof material (faux wood, for example), particularly if the space is poorly ventilated or the blind is close to the shower stall.

plantation style hybrid shutters shutters blend the beauty of real wood and advanced modern materials

Two other special situations that aren’t rooms per se…but warrant some unique consideration:

  • French Doors. Solar blinds (or perforated blinds) are perfectly suitable, as they reduce the glare and heat from the sun and protect furniture from UV rays. Also popular are light-filtering sunscreens (with Sheerweave) with their Japanese style and the lovely luminosity they confer on large windows. Fabric blinds are a good choice as well.
  • Windows above electric baseboard heaters – Rather than hemming your curtains so that they hang just above the heater, simply move them away from the heat source with a mounting bracket (available at most hardware stores), which attaches to the baseboard heater. The effect is more elegant. As for blinds, allow a clearance of at least 30 centimeters from the baseboard heater, and if possible, avoid vinyl or plastic-based materials.


Read More – StyleAtHome


Window Treatment Trends

You may not think window coverings and treatments to be on the hot list of Google Trends, but you might be surprised at the variety of perspectives that have a genuine keen interest in the latest developments around what many consider to be a purely aesthetic endeavor.  Whether you’re an interior designer, a high rise office building facilities manager, a vintage clothing boutique owner…or an everyday homeowner that’s finally ready to make constructive energy efficiency changes…the window coverings industry is alive with new developments

Even though they are beautiful, the inherent value of window treatments is function, which addresses some of our most basic needs such as privacy, energy efficiency, UV-light protection and light control. 

~ Kim Kiner, VP – Hunter Douglas Alustra Collection and Design Studio

Ultimately, it’s “personal taste…should dictate the final results regardless of what is trending” says Doris Gagel, long time window coverings business owner in Canada.  She poses her three decades of industry experience as a question to her customers:  “Is this something you want to replace in three to four years or can you live with it for 20 years?’ Given the cost, it’s usually better to do something you know will still be nice for years to come.”

Here are snipits from a range of perspectives on what’s current in the genre of window treatments.

Designer Window Treatments – HouseBeautiful

Whether you’re looking for elegant draperies, Roman shades, or a simple swath of fabric, [there are] window treatment ideas that will complement every room in the house. [read more]

Window Coverings Make or Break Room – MapleRidgeNews

If you’re looking to add panache to your home, window coverings should be right at the top of the to-do list.

Window coverings have the potential to really make or break the ambiance, comfort, warmth and personality of a room or a whole house… [read more]

What’s Trending in Window Coverings – WaynesvilleDailyGuide

Add a window treatment like shades, shutters or blinds to add style, warmth and privacy.

“Window treatments set the tone for the rest of the room. They offer more than just a way to pull things together,” said Rona Spiegel, owner of New Jersey’s Lifestyle Interior Designs. “Window treatments give homeowners privacy and protection from harmful UV rays of the sun that can damage their furnishings. Window treatments also provide sound baffling in a space, absorbing noise and getting rid of the echo in a room. Diffused light coming in through the windows is also a mood elevator, especially in the middle of the winter when the sun is at a different angle.”

[Read more]

Alustra Screen Shades - Hunter Douglas