SolarFlex - Window Shade Automation for Total Light Control

SolarFlex - Window Shade Automation for Total Light Control

SolarFlex is a dynamic automated shading system designed to maximize natural light within commercial buildings while providing maximum comfort for building occupants. SolarFlex's sun tracking software in combination with exterior mounted sun sensors help control inside temperatures and maintain outside views while protecting against brightness and glare by continuously monitoring sky conditions. Shade positioning is determined based on the time of day, time of year, and the building's geographical location. On cloudy days the shades remain in the up position allowing natural light to enter the space, preserving outside views.

Why SolarFlex?

The primary function of SolarFlex is to maintain a comfortable environment within a building by shielding occupants from unwanted glare and solar heat gain. Other benefits include:

  • The reduction of HVAC costs
  • Increase in natural daylight

An increase in natural daylight is achieved because the SolarFlex sun tracking algorithm positions solar shading to block unwanted glare and heat gain based on several geographical and end user defined variables, which include:

  • Location of building
  • Time of year
  • Time of day
  • Light penetration variable

Sunlight demo
SolarFlex monitors solar position based on both the sun angle (time of day) and azimuth (season).

Energy Savings

SolarFlex can have a significant impact on building energy costs. During warmer months SolarFlex positions window coverings to best block heat and harmful UV rays, keep interior spaces cooler and lower air conditioning loads. In winter months SolarFlex can be programmed to better harvest the sunlight to help heat interior spaces and lower heating loads.

Numerous studies have shown the proven energy saving benefits of window shades. To not only realize but maximize energy savings from window shade products however there are several important factors to consider.

  • Color of shade fabric: Lighter colors reflect sunlight better than darker colors and thus tend to be better for reducing heat. Esthetic concerns have promoted development of darker colors that better reflect light, such as Mermet's KOOLBLACK™ fabrics. A recent study by Mermet showed how this patented technology enabled dark KOOLBLACK fabrics to perform similarly to many lighter fabric colors without it.
  • Openness of shade fabric: The less "open" a shade fabric is the less light it allows to pass through into interior spaces. Shade fabrics typically range from 0% to 14% openness.
  • Efficiency of operation or programming: Shades should always be in their optimum position, relative to the sun, to maximize energy savings. SolarFlex ensures that shades are automatically positioned optimally throughout the day.

SolarFlex Benefits & Features

  • Sun tracking allows positioning of shades based on outside conditions as well as user parameters, ensuring sunlight enters the space just enough that it does not interfere with occupants and workstations
  • SolarFlex reduces the need for artificial lighting providing significant energy savings
  • Reduces HVAC costs in summer and winter months
  • Manually override the automatic movements for an individual shade or an entire zone with either wall switches or computer generated graphical user interfaces (GUIs)
  • Impacts LEED credits

System Integration

SolarFlex is versatile, and easily integrated into Building Management and Lighting Control Systems. For example, it is compatible with BACnet, a data communication protocol for building automation and control networks.

Brochure (pdf) | Diagram (pdf)