A Story of Innovation

As an engineer, very few things “just happen”.  


With this affliction (or blessing as the nerds would contend!) and as a consumer and utility bill payer, we have always looked for better ways to save energy, the environment and money (PLANET Stewardship).  You know the drill . . . insulation; seal leaks around doors and windows; replacing windows; installing blinds, shutters or tint; windmills, geothermal, flywheel staorage or installing photo electric panels to generate our own electricity.  Many either have a high point of entry (thousands og dollars) or require significant skill to install.


You’ll see in our background we have owned and operated a PV installation company.  We still stand behind the technology (with a payback of about 10 – 12 years) but it does come with some issues (like no night-time generation and fair net-metering).  As they say,  “every good solution has problems”.  Hence, innovation is always trying to develop a better solution.


Let’s flash forward a few years.  We moved  into a new house (Phoenix, Arizona) that had an amazing view!  That was great except many rooms faced west, and in the summer it turned those rooms into an oven!  We installed window shades inside but the sun turned them into a hot radiator (since the sunlight radiation still passed through the glass)!  So we said, "Here’s what we’ll do. . . . install outside shade screens."  That did greatly reduce the sunlight on the shades but the temperature was about the same.  Closer observations actually showed much higher glass and windows frame temperatures than the un-screened window! Yikes!


Then the engineer started thinking (maybe not an affliction this time).   By flush mounting the screens, direct thermal conduction of the window frame and glass occurred.  The screens had blocked most of the natural convection, and with darker tan or bronze screens, increase the screen temperatures (in excess of 155 degrees on a 95 degree day).   How could something that was supposed to reduce the heat load also add additional heat load !!


Arrrgh!  “Every good solution has problems!”


Then a spark of innovation!  While walking to my car on that same day without shoes on, the concrete was REALLY HOT !! . . . What did I instinctively do? . . . .Walked to the shady area.   (Duh . . . Oh and checked my feet for blisters!)  I found that sun struck concrete approached that 155 degrees we discussed before (You can verify this), but the ventilated shady area actually allowed the concrete to cool near ambient (In the order of 100 degree’s).  Let’s just not talk about asphalt at this time (remember darker colors!).  So the connection was a properly ventilated solar shade screen could provide SHADE and direct sunlight reduction,  and ALSO, cool off the glass and frame temperatures.  


Ahhhhh – SHADE-MAXtm – Simply cooler.


2M-Innovations has a great deal of experience with writing, reviewing, conducting, witnessing and approving certification environmental testing (over 70 years!).  This ingrained, primal need to “Trust but Verify” kicked in with many prototypes undergoing extensive testing to optimize spacing, mounting, reduced heat conduction, adaptability and ultimately provide a cost effective solution.  Innovations included such design as “C”, “L” and “T” to reduce the amount of material needed for mounting.


After 3 years SHADE-MAXtm was innovated and ready for production (Now Patented !!).  SHADE-MAXtm is easy to install, and has a short payback (about a year). Furthermore, SHADE-MAXtm can be retrofitted into existing solar shade screen installations, as well as new installations.  


Ahhhh . . . . SHADE-GRABBERtm  -  “Every good product has a catch!”


It was brought to our attention a concern about the security of the screen with the SHADE-MAXtm mount.  And so that engineer spirit  kicked back in and studied the tried and true, salt of the earth, old standby . . .  the casement clamp that held the screen frame. Here we are 6 months later, the SHADE-GRABBERtm was innovated (Now patented!!).  Again easy to install and cost effective.  But comes with additional features like using the solar screen frame and spline groove for retention, accommodating regular and heavy duty shade screens with the same part , assuring the clamping occurs over a wider area by design. The SHADE-GRABBERtm was also designed to use the same screws used for the SHADE-MAXtm mounting, thereby reducing inventory.


We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to installer and DIYer acceptance.