Roll-A-Shade® Published in Facilitator Magazine

05 Mar 2021

Roll-A-Shade’s Director of Marketing, Brandi Hassell, explains the harmful effects of UV rays and how to protect your facilities from the sun.

For full cover click here to view the Facilitator Magazine website.

Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation – How the restaurant industry is fighting back to prevent loss through window shade solutions

By Brandi Hassell

There are many environmental stress factors, but the rise of ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a growing concern. The Earth receives different types of energy from the sun; visible light, infrared radiation (felt as heat), and UV radiation (that you neither see nor feel). The Earth’s atmosphere does provide some protection from UV rays, but what breaks through the atmosphere is responsible for the following human problems:

  • Skin cancer and sunburns
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Cataracts or temporary vision loss

Commercial Concerns are a focal point since the sun can have damaging effects on a restaurant’s interior products and furniture. Fading is a result of the overexposure to UV, visible and infrared (IR) light which also causes solar heat. The UV light has a high impact factor on wood furniture. The length of time varies, depending on the heat and applied color of the furniture. Other problems that plague a restaurant’s pockets due to attributing issues of the sun are the following:

  • Glare, contributes to eye damage to employees and register visibility
  • Heat leads to higher HVAC usage and customer comfortability issues
  • Fading floors and furniture means a higher rate of replacement as well as other associated costs
  • Product loss, due to melted or fermented/spoiled condiments.

Between 10 a.m. & 4 p.m., these are the high impact hours for harmful UVA and UVB absorption. During cloudy days the levels of UV radiation are higher due to the scattering of UV radiation and reflection by water molecules in the atmosphere. At higher altitudes, a thinner atmosphere means UV levels increase by 10% to 12% according to the World Health Organization.

Generally, the higher the sun is in the sky, the more damaging the rays. UV exposure peeks around midday, also known as solar noon. The amount of UV radiation varies depending on the time of year or season. According to NASA, the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth’s surface has increased over the last thirty years. This is partially due to the decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone, a colorless gas that acts as a shield from UV radiation.

pi chart showing damage caused by uv/ir rays and visible light

Window Shade Solutions – Providing Protection

The restaurant industry can fight back against the damages of the UV radiation and keep customers and employees comfortable through window shade solutions. Different window shade solutions are available for the different needs of a restaurant. The amount of protection depends on the type of shade fabric and openness. For example, a solar shade with a 5% openness would block up to 95% of the sun’s harmful rays.

Best Rated Material

PVC is chosen for its excellent strength, waterproof properties, flexibility, and durability. PVC coated polyester window shades whether the weather better than non-coated shades. The approximate design life of PVC coated polyester fabric is 15-30 years, depending on the grade of the PVC, location, and exposure to environmental pollution. PVC is also treated to be stain, fire and UV resistant.

PVC coated polyester is low maintenance, and some are classed as a recyclable fabric. This fabric is a popular choice for green building. The process of recycling this type of fabric involves melting down the fabric and producing new shades.

With the longer shelf-life of PVC coated fabrics, this cuts the cost down of frequent shade replacements or worse, a remodel due to sun-damaged furniture.

Automated Shades

Automated motorized shades protect throughout the day by raising and lowering the shades based on the position of the sun. With something as simple as a sun sensor, to help with daylight control, a restaurant can focus on the customers and spend less time managing issues due to heat and glare. These systems are designed to maximize natural daylight while providing heat control.

The restaurant can benefit financially with less use of its HVAC system. Less HVAC means less energy used, which in return means a smaller carbon footprint. Additional energy-saving benefits are seen when you utilize light management allowing light in after the sun has moved from the window.

Exterior Shades

Windows and the sun’s glare are the two biggest culprits of producing heat.  Exterior shades can reduce thermal heat by up to 85%.  Shades mounted on the exterior of a window helps avoid overheating by filtering the direct sunlight that enters an interior space. This can result in decreasing air conditioning costs and reduce the overall energy consumption by utilizing natural daylight. Depending on the type of fabric selected, different degrees of heat-resistance is possible.

showing restaurent remodel national average cost

In the cooler months, exterior shades help by keeping cool air off the windows. By keeping the glass warmer you lower the need for additional heat. This potentially provides an energy savings of 20%.

Exterior shades installed on restaurant patios or outdoor eating areas, enable a restaurant to protect its customers from the harmful UV rays and heat while providing a comfortable ambiance and keeping away pests.


The sun not only is damaging to our customers and building occupants, but it affects our furniture and interior design elements. Adding window shade solutions to your restaurant it can reduce the UV rays by up to 95%, and heat by 85%. Different shade systems include automated, interior, and exterior, each help combat heat and glare issues. Using a PVC coated polyester fabric will make for a longer-lasting shade cutting down the cost of frequent replacements. With the rising concern of UV radiation, it is a good day when a conscious company lowers the risks of the sun’s effects for their customers and other restaurant employees.