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36 January 10 • 201
36 month lease with 10,000 miles/year using GM employee discount lease conquest and
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required with approved credit. Offer ends 1.31.2013.
I Special to the Jewish News
lived on Wayne State's campus
when I was going to college there a
half a million years ago. The bed-
room of my apartment faced a large
student parking lot, and one morning I
awoke to an early morning phone call,
and while standing there in my birth-
day suit, realized I was on display to a
parking lot full of young adults. It was
a bit awkward, but as a broke college
student, window shades took a back-
seat to beer and carryout.
Still, later that day, I took the news-
paper from my neighbor's mail slot
and fashioned window coverings with
it. Now, these weren't just your average
newspaper-covered windows, these
had strings and thumbtacks allowing
me to open and close them at will. If
only I could automate them?
Talk about art imitating life ... One of
the fastest-growing segments of my busi-
ness is automated motorized shades.
Most of us today have window
treatments of one form or another,
but if you want to take full advantage
of energy savings and convenience,
nothing is as cool as automated blinds,
shades and drapery track.
When you think of window treat-
ments you think of privacy and deco-
ration. When you automate, you still
get those features, but you also take
advantage of solar radiant heating in the
winter and cooling in the summer. You
can get this from manual shades, but
most don't because of the effort required
to walk around the house opening and
closing at least twice a day.
The process involves installing new or
replacing existing shades with a motor-
ized unit. These shades can now be
controlled by wall switches, handheld
remotes or even your smart phone.
When tied into a whole-house
home control system like Control 4 or
Crestron, the shades can open and close
by a time schedule or part of another
programmed scene such as "home" or
"goodnight" This smart home tech-
nology can also adjust the blinds and
shades according to temperatures inside
There are additional benefits to
motorized shades, such as protecting
furniture, artwork and rugs from fading
caused by direct sunlight. Shades can
automatically dim during TV watching
for reduced glare. Through automa-
tion, the shades can provide security
by randomly opening and closing dur-
ing a "vacation" schedule. There is, of
course, the positive emotional response
when you allow natural light to enter
the home every day. Whatever your
reasons, today's motorized shades have
many installation options. Lutron offers
shades that only require low-voltage
wiring; great if you are building a new
One of our new favorites, Qmotion,
offers the ultimate in flexibility and cost
savings by utilizing battery-powered
shade motors that operate for five years
before the batteries need to be changed.
As wonderful as this sounds, there is
a cost involved. Battery operated units
run $500-800 for an average size win-
dow, while hardwired units run almost
twice that price. You don't have to do
the whole house, maybe just start with
south-facing windows or perhaps a
Whatever you choose, you can count
on it costing more than a stack of news-
papers, but less than embarrassment.
Neal Check is the owner of SoundCheck
LLC in Southfield, which specializes in
custom home theater, audio, lighting and