September 2, 2018

Motorized Window Treatments: Best When Seen and Not Heard

“All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.” — Herman Melville

Imagine you are at work, deep in thought, very close to solving a frustrating problem or finding just the right words to introduce an important presentation. As the afternoon sun makes its way across the sky, your automatic blinds close, and the sound breaks your concentration. When you get home that evening, your children are excited to see you. After dinner, it takes a while to settle the youngest into bed and finally drift off to sleep. The motorized nursery shades are on a timer, set to close at dusk. Do you trust that the motor is quiet enough to close without waking the baby? If there was a way to decrease the ambient sound in your home and office, even by a small amount, with the application of quiet motors to your window treatments, wouldn't it be worth the investment?

Whether at work or at home, silence is a key factor for health, wellness and focus. However, noise is an inevitable part of modern life. Personal mobile devices, daily commutes, and the general sounds of crowded city living and working have become part of our everyday auditory experience. According to a report released by the World Health Organization, steady exposure to noise pollution has adverse effects on our health, including high blood pressure and fatal heart attacks. It also contributes to poor childhood health, development, and learning. Conversely, silence releases tension in the brain and body, with positive effects noted on multiple levels including blood pressure, circulation, focus, problem-solving and creativity, just to name a few.

Experts have long speculated that background noises, like the office HVAC system or a computer fan, are more easily tuned out because they are regular and predictable. However, the Architectural Engineering Program at the University of Nebraska conducted recent research on the prolonged effects of office background noise on worker productivity and annoyance. How much does noise distraction contribute to decreased productivity, and does the effect change over time? Different types of office work with varying degrees of thinking and concentration were tested in the study, including typing, math, and verbal reasoning. Results demonstrated that perception of the background noise did impact worker performance. Test scores tended to decrease and subjects were more annoyed when they noticed noise. Perception of certain types of noise, such as a rumble, roar, or a hiss, also had a negative impact on worker performance.

When planning interior spaces, many architects and designers are now taking the interior soundscape into consideration. Every detail that can be planned to minimize sound disruptions creates a healthier environment to live, work, and learn. Even hospitals recognize that their ever-rising noise levels are counter-productive for patients trying to get well. As the average daytime hospital sound level has increased to 72 decibels, the World Health Organization’s hospital noise guidelines recommend that sound levels in patient rooms should not exceed 35 decibels.

While boasting many benefits like convenience, energy conservation and aesthetic appeal, the right automatic shades and blinds can also assist with maintaining a comfortably quiet atmosphere. Nice Era Inn tubular motors are extremely quiet and do their job with minimum vibration in any residential or commercial application. Their acoustic performance is the lowest in the industry, a mere 35 decibels, without sacrificing any speed or precision. When measuring decibels, a lower number means a quieter motor. For comparison, some other motors operate at 45 decibels (approximately the hum of a running refrigerator) or 52 decibels (the sound of an average table fan).

Enjoy not noticing when your motorized shades open to let in more light into your kitchen in the morning, or when your automatic blinds close to reduce glare on your office computer screen. When more moments of precious silence is your goal, every aspect of daily living matters. Find ways to improve quality of life for yourself and your clients, and contact us to learn how our near-silent motors help manage natural light in a healthy way.

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