31% of electricity and 44% of thermal energy (fuels) are used in residential, office and commercial areas. Most of these energy resources are used for air-conditioning of the premises (winter heating and summer cooling). Indoor and outdoor lighting accounts for about one third of the electricity bill in the civil sector!

Legislative Decree no. 192/2005, amended by Legislative Decree 311/2006, transposes the Community Directive 2002/91/EC on energy efficiency in buildings, establishing the criteria, conditions and methods for IMPROVING THE ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS in order to favour the development, enhancement and integration of renewable sources and energy diversification. The Decree also contributes to achieving the national targets for limiting greenhouse gas emissions set by the Kyoto Protocol.

For all new buildings with an area greater than 1,000 square metres, the Decree introduces the obligation for an “Energy Certificate” to be issued with respect to the minimum energy performance requirements of the building. The legislation introduces the obligation to verify the existence of suitable solar shades as early as the design phase and recognises the blind (be it external or internal) as playing a fundamental role in reducing the solar load in summer months.

This provision has been mandatory since 1st July 2007.

Pursuant to Legislative Decree 192/2005, buildings will be assigned an “Energy Class” that will establish their energy needs in terms of heating, air-conditioning, light, and so on. It is thus important for the designer and architect to carefully evaluate all contributing factors that can combine to reach a “higher” class, which translates into:

To be effective in regulating the temperature, good protection against the sun must be positioned externally. In this way, it is possible to save up to 60% on the costs of air-conditioning in the spaces!

The effectiveness of a blind depends not only on the type but above all on the choice of fabric. The distinctive characteristics are:

  1. Openness factor of 3-10%: improved aperture for outdoors – good air circulation and greater transparency.
  2. Thermal protection: a dark colour (for greater absorption) is best for external blinds whilst clear colours suit internal blinds (with less absorption).
  3. For internal blinds, the reaction to fire must also be taken into account.

The main fabrics suited to this purpose are: SUNSCREEN AND SOLTIS.