Smart Blinds

We have front row seats for the installation of the adjustable exterior venetian blinds that will mitigate how much sun hits the windows. The installer, Pacific Shading, should be done by the end of the weekend and we are hoping that, once in place, the blinds will be sexy, smart and beautiful.





These blinds are the ultimate in solar controls. They allow maximum daylight to penetrate the space while protecting us from solar heat gains. They are manufactured by a German company – Nysan. The engineering and detailing has been done by their support office in Calgary, AB.

The blinds are being installed only on the windows that our modeling predicted will receive the most sun – both on the outside of the building and on many of the courtyard windows. We designed a unique attachment structure to offsets the blinds two feet from the façade to allow for enhanced shading, and accommodate the operable windows. On the main floor, on the alley side, the blinds are installed against the glass necessitating hopper windows (windows that hinge along the bottom) that open to the inside.

The Nysan blinds are smart! They automatically adjust depending on the sunlight levels and orientation. On the roof, there are two cool sensors with hemi-spherical lens which acts as a photocell, monitoring the intensity of lights. A wind sensor causes the blinds to retract into their housings when wind exceeds 40 mph.

Blind controllers inside the building on the ceiling are programmed based on the blinds’ orientation towards the sun, building latitude and an astronomical clock that tracks the changing seasons. There are overrides for the blinds, but these should be used cautiously as the blinds’ programming is optimized for heat protection and daylight harvesting.

Like with other smart systems in our building, there will be a learning curve for us and the blinds. Just the other day we noticed that the awning windows in the courtyard may interfere with the blinds, so a blockade has to be installed to limit how far the windows can open.  After installation the blinds will be tested and adjusted for some time. We have to be a bit patient….

– Elzbieta Zielinska LEED AP, project manager for The Terry Thomas

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