A solar fabric is a textile that has been specifically engineered to control the amount of light passing through it. The “openness factor” is used to measure the amount of light the material will allow to penetrate into the interior space, and is represented by a percentage.
Solar fabrics act like a sieve for sunlight. When the yarns of the fabric are woven together, the distance between the threads controls how much light can filter through, called the openness factor. The looser the weave, the more distance between the threads the more light can be transmitted into the space. Ecofabrix® offers fabrics in different opennesses that allow 1%-15% of light to pass through, depending on your desired result. Ecofabrix® also offers blackout fabrics that are completely opaque, allowing no light to pass through. When used together, an opaque combined with a sheer or privacy can allow for more versatility and control over natural light.
In addition to the filtration qualities of the material, solar fabrics can also provide reflective protection against heat gain and light. A lighter color fabric, or backing, can reflect the sun back outward, therefore lessening its effects on the interior space. A darker fabric will absorb the heat from the sun, and can help provide insulation during the colder months.
Solar fabrics are the most versatile solution for window coverings and can increase the beauty, functionality, and efficiency of your interior space. Solar fabrics can perform a multitude of sun protective functions such as reducing glare, eliminating direct sun exposure, decreasing heat gain, protecting interior finishes from fading or damage from the sun, improving insulation, and increasing energy savings. In addition, solar fabrics also can provide privacy or simply be used to put the finishing touches on any interior decor.
Since a solar fabric’s main function is sun protection, the material must be resistant to all the negative effects of the sun. This includes fading or discoloration, structural stability including shrinking or stretching, or degradation of quality. Solar fabrics are cut using specially designed cutting machines that either slice or crush cut the fabrics. Because the primary application of a solar material is a roller shade, and due to the way a shade is made and operates, the fabric must be able to have a clean edge with no fraying.
A sheer fabric will typically be semi transparent, and the more open the fabric, the more transparent it becomes. In the evening, a sheer fabric will provide little to no privacy when the interior lights are turned on. During the day, they may provide some privacy, as long as the exterior lighting is brighter than the interior. Also, a lighter color fabric will not be as transparent as a darker fabric in the same openness. A privacy fabric will provide a bit more concealment, though shadows and shapes may be visible when they are backlit. An opaque fabric cannot be seen through, and is what gives it its blackout quality.
Solar fabrics are ideal for window treatment applications where sun management is the main objective. This includes roller shades, structured roman shades, flat panels, hanging panels, vertical blinds, interior pergolas, and screens. Ecofabrix® brand solar fabrics are exclusively for interior use.
Typically, solar fabrics are made of specially coated yarn that is woven together into various patterns. These “core yarns” can be made of various materials ranging from polyester to fiberglass. Each thread is dipped into a specially formulated coating that makes the yarn structurally sound, and resistant to heat and UV. The treatments can vary in composition, containing substances like PVC and acrylic. As with any woven fabric, the threads are then knitted together in various patterns and thread distributions. These patterns help to change the visible light transmittance (or VLT) of the fabric, or to simply provide different aesthetic qualities to the finished shade.
We strive to make our colors as accurate as possible, but screen or print images are intended as a guide only. They should not be regarded as absolutely correct since the colors you see on your screen or on a print-out may not be a totally accurate reproduction of the actual product.