By Scott Stephenson, Director of Product Management, Motorization, Hunter Douglas

The summer sun is here, and after the last 18 months of the pandemic, we ready to soak it up – whether that means stay-cationing right in the backyard or going on a full family vacation. While most folks are ready for the summer lifestyle, many homeowners may be less ready for the effects that the highly anticipated warmer weather and longer days will have on their homes and on their routines. Between managing energy bills from air conditioning, adjusting to off-kilter circadian rhythms, and checking off long to-do lists of things to do before leaving on a trip, there’s some adjustment that comes with the season. Luckily, smart shading solutions can help homeowners bypass these challenges, while adding new levels of convenience, comfort, and privacy, too.

1. Controlling Light at All Times of the Day

In the summer months, many regions in North America enjoy more sunshine. While the longer days are often welcomed, they can also create challenges for entertainment, privacy, and even sleep schedules. The recent summer solstice reminded me of window treatment projects Hunter Douglas has completed in Alaska, where daylight can last 18 to 24 hours in the summer. It goes without saying that it’s not easy to get a solid night of sleep with mid-day levels of sunshine.

This is where options like room darkening fabrics can come into play. When Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb Shades with Light Lock are coupled with automated schedules, homeowners can ensure not a sliver of light bleeds through your room before the appointed time. Think: putting kids to bed when it still light out or trying to regulate nap time or watching your watching your favorite evening show – being able to block the sun’s glare can be crucial. Automated shades can provide the convenience of maintaining your daily routines amidst the summer months.  

2. Optimizing Energy Savings

Like many, I keep an eye on my thermostat and cooling bills, and it’s known that spikes in energy costs can be even more apparent in the summer months. With cooling making up 16 percent of electricity costs for U.S. households, there are a bevy of options to control the temperature in the home and optimize energy savings. Many homeowners may first opt for smart thermostats, energy monitoring devices, and, of course, air conditioning. Without a doubt, these are great solutions. But one key factor is not always considered when it comes to savoring the cool air in defense of the hot sunshine: Windows.

Many people don’t realize the degree to which windows play a role in temperature regulation: The US Department of Energy reports that in older homes, window systems typically account for 25 percent of annual heating and cooling costs but can be responsible for as much as 40 percent. That said, protection at the window is critical and automated shades offer a solution. With options to integrate shades into existing smart systems and design options to regulate insulation, the smart shading sector offers a new option to stop energy loss in its tracks, right at the window. 

Select fabrics for Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb Shades, Applause Honeycomb Shades, Sonnette Cellular Roller Shades, and Designer Screen Shades come with an additional credibility proof-point for temperature regulation: Attachments Energy Ratings Council (AERC) certification. AERC provides an un-biased, third-party certification of the energy-saving potential of a window attachment product. The Hunter Douglas lines of cellular shades and cellular roller shades were the first to earn an energy performance rating. AERC-rated and certified window treatments offer benefits across climates, helping maintain temperature and reduce spending on heat or air conditioning. 

3. Set It & Forget It

We often hear from homeowners how much they love the scheduling functionality of their automated shades. For example, at 10 p.m., all the shades in the home can come down to ensure privacy, and they will be greeted by the warm sun the next morning. Scheduling can go a step further in the summer, adjusting on a schedule based on how the sun moves around the house and in coordination with other devices, like a smart thermostat. 

By integrating with existing smart home systems, homeowners have the option to adjust their shades at any time, from anywhere, with a convenient press of a button, a voice command, or within a mobile app. This becomes another favorite feature as homeowners plan their family vacations and may be away from the home – but want to ensure the appearance of occupancy. 

Automated shading offers undeniable benefits year-round, but some of the features add tremendous value in the summer months. With more than 20 styles and boundless fabric options, automated window treatments offer the design-focused functionality that savvy homeowners are looking for.