[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] Not so long ago, home automation was considered the stuff of science fiction -- a paradigm so far into the future that it could be imagined, but no one would dare to believe it may become a reality. However, in the last few years, advances in home automation have been made that would leave former generations with their jaws on the floor. In this article, we'll look at five of the most common ways to automate your home, from heating, ventilation and air conditioning control to retractable awnings.

1. HVAC

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning control (HVAC) is one of the most important aspects in any home -- after all, this is the technology that controls temperature, and temperature is key to comfort. While, once upon a time, air conditioning involved pressing buttons on a large unit embedded in a wall or window, these days air conditioning can be entirely automated. This may involve a system with a reversing valve that can switch from cooling in summer to heating in winter, or even an internet-controlled thermostat that can allow the home temperature to be controlled remotely.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] When hosting an event at your home, there is a lot to keep in mind. Whether buying food and drinks in the lead-up or ensuring everyone has a great time on the day, you're undoubtedly going to have your hands full. In this article, we'll run you through a few things to keep in mind whenever entertaining guests, from food preparation to creating a great entertainment area with retractable awnings.

1. Send invites

First and foremost, you'll need to ensure everybody knows about your event by sending out invitations. The traditional way to do this is with paper invites sent out in the mail, but these days it's just as common to send the invite via text or email, or perhaps create a Facebook Event. Whatever the case, ensure people know when they need to RSVP by so you can have a good idea of how many people will be coming.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] There are many ways to add value and comfort to the outside of your home, but one of the best ways to achieve this is by installing a retractable awning. Here we take a closer look at retractable awnings with a few frequently asked questions, from what they are and how they work to the various parts that make them.

What is a retractable awning?

An awning is an overhanging covering attached to the outside wall of a building -- sometimes residential, sometimes commercial. While traditional awnings have been set in place, it's becoming increasingly popular for retractable awnings to be used. These types of awnings can be extended or retracted depending on the weather conditions; extend them for cover on scorching hot or rainy days, and retract them to soak up the weather when conditions are perfect.

What are the parts of a retractable awning?

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Retractable Awning Everybody (well, except for vampires) enjoys soaking up the sun. Summer weather is great for hitting the beach, relaxing by the pool or simply kicking back on your porch with a good book. However, the sun can also be dangerous -- vampire or not. Too much sun exposure leads to risks of premature ageing of the skin, painful sun burn and even potentially life-threatening skin cancer. From sunscreen to retractable awnings, in this article we'll take a look at four ways to protect yourself from the sun, so you can enjoy the summer months without having to worry about your health.

1. Wear sunscreen

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] You're planning a holiday. Good on you -- you deserve it! After working so hard throughout the year, it's time to relax, unwind and enjoy life without the stresses. It's all going to be for nothing, however, if you return feeling refreshed only to find that your home has been broken into while you're away. The reality is, the extended period spent away from home that comes as a result of a holiday provides the perfect opportunity for criminals to break into your home and steal your valuables. Before you go away, draw your curtains or blinds and follow this home security holiday checklist to ensure you don't become a victim.

Think about lighting

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] When people need to spend their working days in an office, they want to feel comfortable. Those eight-hour (sometimes longer) days can be made hard to bear if a few basic human comforts aren't provided. In this article, we'll take a look at the benefits of installing roller blinds in your office, highlighting the benefits they offer for making the office more comfortable for employees.

1. Keep the heat out

In the hot summer months,  not all offices can afford grade A air-conditioning systems. We couldn't count the amount of offices we've worked in with air conditioning systems that just didn't quite do the job; even worse is the fact that different employees like to have the office at different temperatures, making the fight for control of the air remote fiercer than the fight for the TV remote at home! Roller blinds provide a perfect answer to this; they do an incredible job of keeping the heat out, providing insulation to the office and helping to regulate temperature.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Retractable Roof System All Seasons with Lights Property investment is one of the most reliable ways to grow your assets, and something that anyone who owns a house is taking part in, even though many homeowners don't see their house as an investment as such. This is a mistake--even if you buy a home and plan to live in it for the rest of your life, you are still making an investment that needs to be taken care of and protected, not to mention the fact that you should consider the ways in which it can make you money! Having said this, there are so many ways in which it is possible to add value to your property, from small changes that pack a big punch such as improving the window treatments with new roller blinds or retractable awnings, all the way to big changes like renovation or remodelling. For three great tips on adding value to your property, read on!

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Blockout Fabric Blinds There's nothing like the glaring summer sun streaming through your windows and waking you up at ridiculous-o'clock to remind you that you should invest in some decent blinds. The thing is, however, that winter is also a great time to invest in blinds, but a lot of people don't realised because without that hot glaring sun to give them a gentle reminder, it falls into next year's to-do list! Whether you're fitting out a new home or sprucing up an old one, make this winter the one that you buy quality blinds or awnings. From roller blinds to complete blackout blinds, there are so many ways that the window treatment you buy can impact the quality of your home. Here are three good reasons to brave the cold and go out to buy blinds today!

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] With new technologies, innovations and designs coming out of the blind and awning industry virtually every week, there has never before been such a wealth of options for the consumer hoping to spruce up their home. The problem, of course, is that with so many to choose from, how do you know which product will best suit your needs? Whether you're looking for roller blinds, Roman blinds, sunshades or Venetians, the process of making a decision should be based on a thorough analysis of your needs and what you hope to achieve both aesthetically and practically. Here, we provide a few tips and tricks for choosing the right blinds for your home.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] Roller blinds are like a secret weapon for designers. They’re light managers, and very efficient. They’re also easy to customize and you can truly remodel any space with them. Designers use them for upgrading businesses and offices.

Roller blinds basics

Roller blinds are big ticket items for interior design because they deal with a whole range of interior design issues. The big modern blinds aren’t particularly cheap, but they provide a lot of value:
  • Lighting: These blinds are used to deal with light issues in large areas. They’re easy to install and operate, so areas with morning or afternoon lighting issues can be managed very effectively.
  • Décor: Modern businesses need an upmarket look, and that’s exactly what Roller blinds deliver. The blinds come in a vast range of optional colours and sizes, and can match any sort of interior design seamlessly.
  • Operation: The blinds are raised or lowered manually, using a steel chain, or electrically by remote control.
  • Types of roller blinds

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] Retractable awnings are used in external situations where climate, sun and the local environment require them. They’re also extremely useful designer features for commercial buildings. A retractable awning can be motorized and controlled by a switch or remotely controlled.

Retractable awnings basic roles and functions

Retractable awnings are rapidly becoming a feature of many 5 star resorts and upmarket commercial premises like shopping malls. They allow use of external space and provide a great designer environment for customers and for the workplace. Retractable awnings are usually either built in at the construction stage or part of a makeover of older buildings in need of an upgrade to modern standards. They’re also “character pieces” for the building, providing a visual identity. This can be crucial in a crowded, competitive business environment, where visual presence is important to sales. Interestingly, another common function is less predictable, but always useful- Retractable awnings provide shelter around the business, and tend to attract customers for that reason.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="grid" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] Environmentally friendly and sustainable materials are a huge emerging market and the screens and blinds industry is well ahead of the trends. “Sustainable” isn’t really a buzzword, it’s an economic concept for industries, and the product life cycle studies inherent in sustainable product manufacturing have been producing benefits for businesses and consumers alike. Roller blinds, for example, are a case in point. These large blinds use up a lot of material, and better production through use of sustainable practices has paid off very well for the market.

Green in more ways than one

Eco friendly capabilities for blinds extend well beyond the fabrics themselves. Even synthetics are now being developed specifically to help energy management and cut pollution by reducing the demand on power for air conditioning and heating. Energy efficient blinds can save up to 40% on power usage.