Baltimore Gas and Electric launches first-in-the-nation smart shade pilot

Credit: Hunter Douglas

The Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) announced a new partnership with four entities to roll-out the nation’s first smart shade pilot project.

Through the pilot, select Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) customers will receive up to ten AERC-rated smart shades.

The overall goal is to test the energy savings that customers can realize from automated window shades. AERC developed the automated shades’ operation schedule, which will serve as the guiding force behind the program so that participating customers may maximize the energy savings opportunity of the shades in their homes. The shades will be installed on west- and south-facing windows and programmed to a summer and winter schedule for energy savings.

Other partners include:

  • Hunter Douglas, a custom window treatment manufacturer,
  • Rollease Acmeda, a roller shade manufacturer, and
  • Illinois Window Shades a fabricator

“AERC is excited to lend our research and knowledge about automation and certified shading toward this partnership with BGE,” said Ralph Vasami, Executive Director of AERC. “AERC and our members look forward to working with other utilities to continue promoting the energy-saving benefits of window attachments and smart-home systems.”

Further, research from AERC conducted in partnership with the Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Pacific Northwest National Lab and Oak Ridge National Lab demonstrated that window attachment products can improve energy performance at the window. Automated shades that operate according to a specific operation schedule may further improve energy savings.

AERC has rated and certified the Hunter Douglas cellular shades and cellular roller shades that participants in the pilot will receive, and the roller shades from Rollease Acmeda are in the AERC certification pipeline, likely to be fully rated and certified by early 2021.

Cellular shades and cellular roller shades are designed to help keep homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and these automated shades can integrate with smart home automation systems. In addition to providing the automated shades, professional installation and automation scheduling is provided by a Hunter Douglas installer at no additional cost to the consumer. Similarly, the Rollease Acmeda roller shades operate in a comparable fashion; offering improved energy performance to windows and integrating with smart home systems to ensure complete automation.

“The pilot program’s main goal is to build on the research from AERC and to provide critical real-world data on the energy impact of automated shades on home heating and cooling systems,” said Amey Bayes, a representative from BGE. “We want to measure the energy savings that smart shades can capture, while also helping customers enhance the look and comfort of their home environments.”

BGE expects to release results at the conclusion of this one-year study.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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