A Story of Innovation
Blistered Feet and Cooler Windows . . .
With the engineering affliction (or blessing as the nerds would contend!), and a consumer/utility bill payer, we have always looked for better ways to save energy, help the environment and save money (PLANET Stewardship).
You know the drill . . . MORE insulation; seal leaks around doors and windows; replacing windows; installing blinds, shutters or tint; windmills, geothermal, flywheel storage or installing photo electric panels to generate our own electricity. Many either have a high point of entry (thousands of dollars) or require significant skill to install.
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 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! What to do!
Then the engineer started thinking (maybe not an affliction this time, but can be dangerous . . .). 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 a typical summer day the sunlit 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 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 95 degree’s). Let’s just not talk about asphalt at this time (darker colors are even hotter!). So the connection was a properly shaded surface (or ventilated solar shade screen) should provide SHADE and direct sunlight reduction. We hoped that this would translate to cooler glass and frame temperatures. Such was the premise.
Ahhhhh – SHADE-MAXtm – Simply cooler.
We have a great deal of experience with writing, reviewing, conducting, witnessing and approving Aerospace certification environmental testing (Over 30 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.
Shade-Max 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. Below are the key design features.
Looking forward to installer and DIYer acceptance.