Kudos to you for considering a sustainable window covering for your abode.
As you mentionedthere are motorized (hardwired and battery operated) blinds as well as manually operatedblinds. Cost and ability to tear up the walls of your apartment to wire for motorized blinds willdetermine which operation method is right for you.
Recommended selection criteria
When selecting window coverings, I recommend you look for the following fourcharacteristics:
1. Solar transmittance: the sum of solar radiation (a measure of heat gain from the sun)and solar isolation (a measure of the ability to limit the movement of solar radiation).The lower the measureable number the less again you experience;
2. Solar reflectance: a measure of a surface's ability to reflect solar energy. Unlike solartransmittance, the higher the number the greater the ability to reflect away the sun'senergy keeping the interior of the space cool;
3. Solar absorbance: a measure of heat transfer. The lower the number, the less heat asubstance will absorb - think white roofs; and
4. Visual Transmittance: the measure of visual light passing through a material. The higherthe number the more transmittance.
As for toxicity of window covering materials, look for products that have been certified.
Thefollowing is a partial list of third party certifications that are applicable to window blinds:
- GreenGuard certified
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified - International Association for Research and Testing inthe field of Textile Ecology
- RoHS Product Certification Services (Intertek) - the European Directive on the Restriction ofHazardous Substances
Products that meet these certifications
The following is a brief selection of companies that market window coverings that have one ormore of the above certifications:
Not all blind products from each supplier are environmentally sensitive. When you arereviewing your choices, look for the certification logos mentioned above as well as similarqualifiers such as "PVC-free".
For more information:
Read "Can you recommend solar window blinds that are not made of PVC?" a Q&A answered by Maggie Wood.