Friday, 11 May 2012

Blind faith

Originally we were going to get strips of fabric running vertically where the strings hold the blinds up. These were sold to us quite agressively as covering the holes in the blinds, stopping pinpoints of light getting through, and the pictures in the brochures made it look like they were some fancy design feature, embellishing the beauty of the blinds. 

We were struggling to decide what colour these fabric strips should be, worrying that with time the colour would fade in a different way to the blinds themselves, and I made an executive decision and said we didn't want any. Without them, the blinds look like blinds. They have fine strings attached, but we're used to that. That's what blinds look like. With the fabric, they look like blinds with bits of fabric coming down them. What made the decision for me was that they insist on having them at about 30 cm intervals, which seems to be massively over-engineered. I can see with thin flexible blinds, some extra support would help, but these slats are wooden, so there is no bending. They really only need strings at each end, and perhaps in the middle for extra stability. They're made of wood, not lead, and are not that heavy.

When they recalculated the price without the strips of fabric, it went down by over 10%. They were trying to rob us blind! I suppose that's just business. Tell your customers they're getting a massive discount. Try to add as many extras to your products as possible. Tell the customer how much they need them. Charge extra for each one.

We had to choose colours for the slats themselves, and the choice was white, matching  the walls, and window frames, or dark brown, matching the shelves and cupboards. Actually there was a wider range of choices than this, but within our colour scheme, those were the two choices. We chose white, which looks good, but I have that nagging feeling we should have chosen dark brown. The ideal would have been white on one side, and dark brown on the other. We suggested this, and tried to make the blind man see, but it was impossible. They don't make them. We'll have to just paint one side of them!

White reflects better, so it may prevent heat getting in in the summer. I'm not sure exactly how effective this will be as the three window pains do their fair share of reflecting. The G value of the windows is 50%, so half of the radiation gets through, and the other half is reflected. This will also happen on the way out, so once the radiation gets into the house, half of it will stay. Actually, a certain amount is going to be heating up the middle pain, but keeping it simple, drawing the blinds on a hot day is going to stop direct radiation getting into the room, and it will feel less hot, although it will only halve the amount of heat getting into the house. It'd be nice to have a radiation meter so that we can tell exactly how much radiation is coming in. 

Another advantage is that white is lighter, so the room will be less dark. Brown, on the other hand, absorbs more heat and radiates more heat. In the winter brown would be better if we ever have the blinds down in the day time, as it will get the heat into the house, but not the radiation. Also brown will probably feel warmer when we have the blinds down at night. Anyway, the white blinds will be a lot warmer than nothing. We'll have to give it a year.

Perhaps we'll look back and think we were colour blind, but we had to choose something!

At the moment every time I go past the blinds, I put them up so I can see outside, and every time my better half goes past, she puts them down, worried about the neighbours looking in. We need to work more on the garden.