Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Green Home Tour

My ‘How to Make Your Drapes More Energy Efficient’  display and I were part of the  Green Home Tour on Saturday, May 14. I was at Jen Dyck and Steve Mennie’s home - the straw bale one.  We were the last on the list but we had the first people show up at 9:45 and they kept coming all day; well, except for the lunch hour when Jen and I had time to take a little stroll around the property. 
The weather cooperated; it was actually sunny for part of the day so everyone who came through seemed to be in good spirits, and  there were many positive comments about the tour.
I don’t know much about straw bale homes except that they are very energy efficient. I did a bit of research and the astounding thing I learned is that a built to code ‘stick’ home will have R-20 insulation. Straw bale is equal to R-50 or 60 and the energy saving to heat is about 75%.  I was looking at Google Images: 581,000 straw bale homes came up with a massive diversity of styles; some are whimsical, ‘hobbit’ stye; some look like a model home from Architectural Digest and everything in between.  Conrad Wilkins designed and built Steve and Jen’s house and it is of a style all its own.
I was really pleased with the response to my display; I had  samples of drapes with 4 different linings and the equivalent insulation  that the various combinations provide; from about R-3 for a good window with unlined drapes up to R-10 or more by combining insulation and linings and  with additional treatments -like Roman Blinds-  the R-value can shoot up to R-16 or more . The code for homes in this area is 6 inch studs with R-20 insulation. 
Removable blackout liners for your drapes will prevent heat from entering as well as leaving; so please remember this when the summer sun starts streaming in.
One other thing: the Sqwlax Pow Wow is held the third week in July.  I went to one night of dance competition there last year and it was a highlight of my summer. I won’t miss it this year; it’s a really great family outing and would be a wonderful event to take out-of-towners to.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Convention Center encompasses about 2 million square feet of exhibit space. LIke everything else in Vegas it’s larger than life. I was there last week to attend the International Window Coverings Expo. The  Kitchen and Bath Industry Show  was held there at the same time; I’ve never seen so many  stoves, sinks and bathtubs; every size, color, configuration- with, I’m sure, a ratio of 2 sales ‘reps’ per visitor. Overwhelming.
The International Window Coverings Expo is the big North American annual show  for my trade.  It was a blast. I met colleagues I’ve only spoken to on the internet; I connected with a mentor I’ve not seen in awhile; I bought a new module of software for my Interior Design program that will allow me to do some spectacular things for bedroom renderings for you.  The highlights for me were what I learned about innovations in the blind industry and  patterning techniques for very intricate window coverings. 
 I secured a new trim line that I will be able to offer at fantastic prices. See the side bar here for a picture of some of the trim. The price of this trim line is about half  of a comparable trim here.  As of May 6, the books are on their way. 
There were quite a few window covering manufacturers there, showing the latest and greatest in blinds and shades.  Roller shades were featured prominently, I think in part because they are not susceptible to the cord safety regulations. I met a member of the Window Covering Manufacturers  Association council - one of those responsible for writing the regulations concerning corded shades and he told me they are being considered by Canadian regulators for implementation here.  Soon.
Boring stuff, for sure, but the translation for you is that if you own a home that has venetian blinds,  accordion shades, roman blinds, roller shades on a continuous loop chain or drapery on a cord system you need to be aware that those products may be considered dangerous and require re-fitting.
The upside to all of this is that the innovators in my industry have been really busy developing new products that allow us to  continue to make window coverings yet be compliant.  Magnets, concealed tracks, wide lift bands, cord shrouds- truly unique systems and some of them are much better than the ‘old’ ways. If we hadn’t had this shakeup we might never have seen these products be developed. I have one new system in use in my workroom now, a second system will be soon - it was just announced at the show for the first time and they were overwhelmed with orders.