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Add Value to Your Home With High Tech Window Treatments

Posted at 12/09/2019 11:50 AM by Pat O'Connor

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Photo courtesy of Residential Systems Inc./Lutron

When I was growing up, the definition of window treatments was one five letter word -- shade.

Our windows were festooned with the old fashioned, roller cotton shades that had a simple plastic “handle.” You would pull up or down on the handle to the desired height and give a slight jerk to keep it in place. They were designed to keep rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

My mom was often reluctant to let the light shine in, fearing it would fade the furniture or cause the heating bill to rise. As a result, I often thought I lived in a cave.

Fast forward to 2019 and fortunately, we not only have vibrant window coverings but automation to allow just the right amount of light into our homes at the right time of day. Gone are the days of pulling up and down the shades, hearing the rattle of plastic vertical blinds with chains and having to view those uneven crinkled metal horizontal mini blinds. If you are looking for a solid home improvement that adds a ton of value to your residence, look no further than upgrading your window coverings.

Today, high tech window treatments are not limited to new home construction. With the advent of battery-operated, low voltage wiring, battery-operated blinds and shades and even solar technology, any home, regardless of when it was built, can have opulent window treatments that provide value to your home, reduce energy costs and look fabulous. There is no need for dangling cords or chains -- operate your blinds and shades with the press of a button.

“Our company has focused on providing leading edge home technology for over 30 years,” said Travis Leo, CEO of Residential Systems Inc., a Lakewood based company that provides home automation on everything from lighting and sound, to window coverings. “But I am most passionate about what we can bring to the homeowner when it comes to window treatments. The big TV and sound systems are cool but an integrated motorized system of shades and drapes looks great and is incredibly functional.”

Leo cites as an example the Lutron automation system. With this in effect, any number of shades, blinds and drapes -- from horizontal sheer blinds to drapery track systems -- can be incorporated into the home and at the press of a button, the light in your home can be transformed, according to Leo. These wireless systems can be controlled through a remote device or your smart phone. This technology is especially appreciated in Colorado where people welcome the 300 plus days of sun and views but also want to protect the interior of their homes from harmful UV rays. The remote devices can detect changes in light and temperature, and automatically control the amount of shading allowed in a room.

“Living here in Colorado, people want to take advantage of the sunshine and the views,” Leo said. “Many homes have upgraded windows that offer great views to the outside so being able to keep those views yet have increased privacy is achieved in selecting, for example, a solar shade. And automating that device, depending on the time of day, is a great value to the home. “

Setting up window treatments in new construction homes or a remodel is pretty straightforward as low voltage wiring can be easily installed next to the regular hard wiring. However, with upgrading blinds or shades in an existing home to motorized versions, most people must decide between Lutron or Somfy, the two leading developers. These manufacturers also integrate with Nest, Apple HomeKit and Lowe’s Iris, all smart home management systems. However, other manufacturers like Hunter Douglas also have their own automated blinds that integrate with home management systems.

For example, the Lutron Serena Shades operate with regular alkaline batteries, which typically last 3-5 years. The batteries are contained in a unit above the shades, and guarantee quiet operation. The shades are controlled by either a handheld remote control, or smartphone or tablet. No more need to climb over furniture or table to pull cords! There are over 150 fabrics from which to choose to assure the shades will reflect the style of your house. Finally, the shades offer superior energy saving costs. Programming options include automatic rising and closing (even when you aren’t home).

There are also solar blinds that operate on rechargeable batteries. Somfy offers the WireFree Solar Pack which harnesses renewable solar energy to power motorized window coverings and offers a green alternative by reducing the replacement and disposal of standard batteries. Convenient and cost-effective, the WireFree Solar Pack reduces the need for battery replacement and helps preserve the environment. A discreet low profile solar panel is easy to conceal and preserves the design of the window.

Plan on spending at least $300 per window with any kind of motorized system. People may initially balk at the big price tag but it's important to realize it's an investment for you to enjoy while in the home and one from which you can reap rewards down the road when it comes time to sell.

“If you look at the value it can add to your home, I believe it’s worth it,” Leo said. “When we sold our home, the one feature that the new owners loved was the motorized shades. Window treatments can be one of the coolest pieces of the home and bringing technology to it adds a whole new dimension.”

Posted by Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.

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Topics: Home Improvement