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 (photo: Hunter Douglas)
01.06.2005, 10:14

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FM Magazine spoke with Jean Chemali, Manager of Window Covering Products for Hunter Douglas Middle East, about the company's innovative solar shading systems.

FM Magazine spoke with Jean Chemali, Manager of Window Covering Products for Hunter Douglas Middle East, about the company's innovative solar shading systems.

 

 

When it comes to stunning buildings, the GCC is not short of examples. Vertical columns of glass and aluminium are sprouting up relentlessly to the tune of more than $300 billion in construction investment. While ‘looks’ have typically been the most important factor in a client’s brief, much more attention is now being paid to operational functionality – bringing a keener sense of understanding how to manage energy consumption while optimising interior working environments.

 

Glance down Dubai’s ‘Manhattanesque’ Sheikh Zayed Road, for example, and you find a glittering array of fantastic façades. But the comfort of the occupants within can vary tremendously. A façade must reach an critical balance between aesthetics, user comfort, energy efficiency and affordable maintenance – criteria that conflict in more than one area. The result is often to the advantage of aesthetics and architecture, and to the detriment of user comfort.

 

Jean Chemali
Jean Chemali

Whilst a 100 percent glass façade is great for bringing natural light into a building, it requires a particularly efficient solar control system to reduce energy bills caused by overheating – and to reduce glare. Window covering products, which can be used either internally or externally, are one effective solution for solar control and are being increasingly utilised in the GCC.

 

“The mentality of people over here is changing,” explains Jean Chemali, Manager of Window Covering Products for Hunter Douglas Middle East. “In Europe, the whole thinking about design concepts and window coverings has changed tremendously over the past five to 10 years. Here, engineers, consultants and architects are following very quickly with the uptake of Helioscreen products, which are overtaking many other types of window coverings. Although they’ve been around since the Sixties, people are just starting to realise the importance of it.”

 

Screen is an open fabric woven from glass yarns, coated with a bulk-dyed polymer compound. Studies have shown that these external blinds can stop up to 90 per cent of solar energy. This translates into a 5-150C reduction in maximum room temperature, which in turn makes it possible to reduce air-conditioning capacity by 50 per cent and power consumption by up to 60 per cent. Automating blinds by positioning them according to the time of day and the weather further optimises energy savings. Placed on the inside, screen blinds ensure good visual comfort by reducing the intensity of light and glare.

 

If you want to block  heat, you’re better off doing it outside a building rather than inside where it will not be nearly as effective in reducing air conditioning load.

 

“Unfortunately, the most popular over here is still the internally used one,” says Chemali. “But if you want to have energy efficiency, then you have to go for external use. If you want to block  heat, you’re better off doing it outside a building rather than inside where it will not be nearly as effective in reducing air conditioning load.”

 

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