As the outdoor technology market continues to expand, integrators find themselves more than ever deploying categories of equipment that are traditionally relegated to interior spaces. Outdoor displays, wireless networks, projectors/screens, and loudspeakers have become staples for outdoor installations these days as consumers create outdoor entertainment areas/living spaces.
But what about motorized shades and shading structures? For some reason, these shading options have not seen the light of day into many outdoor projects. Lutek Shading Systems aims to change that, and bring a new revenue opportunity to integrators.
At CEDIA Expo 2019 in Denver Sept. 12-14, Arvada, Colo.-based Lutek (booth #4220) will debut an array of indoor and outdoor motorized shading systems sold through the custom installation channel. The product lines include exterior roller shades, skylight shading solutions, pergolas, and traditional indoor roller shades with fascia, exposed roller, pocket and cassette options.
“The American Institute of Architects (AIA) does annual surveys with its members and since 2013 outdoor living spaces have topped their list as one of the most important areas. More people want to utilize that outdoor space as an extension of their living spaces,” says John MacKenzie, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Lutek.
“Outdoor living is important for architects to design into homes and commercial projects for their customers. For anybody who wants to enjoy their outdoor spaces, it can be unbearable outside unless you have the right shading and structures to make it a comfortable living space. It just extends their usable living spaces,” he says.
Also, energy conservation is important to today’s homeowners, and when integrators put shades on the exterior of a home, it greatly increases energy savings. The practice is common in Europe, where energy costs are higher, but it is just catching on in the U.S. and we feel there is enormous market potential, according to MacKenzie.
Installing exterior shades on a window does not preclude a similar motorized treatment on the inside of the glass. While the exterior shades offer tremendous energy savings by filtering light and heat, interior shades can offer a decorative touch to soften the living space.
Key Partnerships With Renson, Somfy
Lutek has an extensive background in the shade market. The company was founded in 1968 by Mary Lou Ralston, who started out making drapery in her basement. Today, the firm is run by her daughter Kelli Beckish, making the company a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).
2019 has been a big year for Lutek with its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and its new partnership with Renson, a Belgium-based high-end maker of external shades and shading structures for outdoor spaces.
“Renson is a 110-year-old company with a line of high-end products. They have some of the most highly-engineered products that we have seen in terms of quality and features,” says MacKenzie.
On the motorization front, Lutek has had a long-standing relationship with Somfy, utilizing Somfy’s wide variety of hardwired and wireless motors Lutek is able to offer a variety of integration options including ZigBee, Z-Wave, Serial, IP, and Dry Contact connectivity to interface with major control systems such as Crestron, Control4, Savant, RTI and others.