Technical Info

Is Your Conservatory Too Hot To Enjoy?

Daft question really, why else are you looking at this site! But you may not realise how extreme the temperatures get. Up at the top of the roof the temperature can exceed 70 degrees centigrade which is hotter than the surface temperature of the hottest desert on the planet, you could literally fry and egg up there of you can find a way to hold your frying pan. Read more to find out why and what you can do about it...

Three steps to cooling your conservatory...

Step 1. Providing Shade

The first step is the introduction of shade within your roof space. Shade removes the direct effect of the heat of the sun and will significantly increase your comfort level on hot sunny days. The temperature in the shade on sunny days can be 10-15 degrees centigrade cooler, making you feel more comfortable and reducing the requirement for additional cooling. A good aim is to block most of the heat while maximising diffused light transmission to maintain natural light levels.

When looking at options for shade the transmission value will tell you how much light will come through, typical values for the fabrics used in blinds and shade sails are in the 5-10% range. Under full sun our ISX fabric has a light transmission value of up to 21% together with full diffusion (value depends on colour as darker colours absorb visible light.

Sunny daysCloudy days 

Step 2. Reducing Heat Gain

Reducing the amount of the suns energy entering your conservatory will reduce the ambient air temperature and when used together with ventilation will allow you to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the summer. Solar control can be introduced by either reducing the light before it before it comes through the roof or reflecting it back out again before it heats the space. Blocking the light before it enters your conservatory, using an awning is more efficient but is often less practical and usually more expensive.

The reflectance value tells you how much heat the solar control fabric, film or coating will reflect; the higher the value the better, the maximum value is around 80% (the average value for new snow and the maximum for white clouds) values above 60% are good. You should also look at the thermal absorption value as this indicates how much heat the glass or fabric will absorb and then potentially radiate into the room; the lower the value the better, values below 10% are good.

Your aim is to reduce the heat gain levels below the capacity to remove heat through ventilation. This way you can control the temperature by adjusting the flow rate of your ventilation; which is much easier to achieve. Most of the heat on hot sunny days will enter through the roof and frequently through just parts of the roof, so these are the areas to focus on first. You can calculate the heat load reduction by simple calculation.

80% of area x a Solar reflectance 72% = an average reduction of 57%

If you have good ventilation then providing good solar control over just part of the roof can be very effective.

Step 3. Improving Ventilation

The final step is to maximise and control your ventilation. Ventilation can be natural or driven by a fan. In both cases you will want to expel hot air at a high level and draw in cooler air at a lower level.

Heat is best expelled at the highest point as this is where the hottest air will naturally be. This hot air can be removed by a roof light or ridge vent. These can be simple openings or can be mechanically assisted to increase the natural flow.

To replace the hot air you want to draw in air from the coolest location possible, which is usually close the ground, your house wall and wherever possible from a shaded location.

Adding a low level air vent can be a simple way to increase air flow but make sure that as a minimum you can close it in winter.

If you only have window vents in the walls you will need to create cross flow by opening at least one window on opposite sides of the conservatory. Try to open windows at different heights, as far apart as possible or in the direction of a natural breeze.

Improving ventilation 

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Sunny day - clear glass

Fabric Development

Despite the inherent advantages of using stretch fabric sails to provide shade we soon realised that the extreme temperatures found in UK domestic conservatories set a challenge that could not be met by any of the conventional stretch fabrics available on the market.

This is why, working in conjunction with a UK technical textile mill, we designed and created our own fabric- the ISX fabric; the UK’s first stretch fabric to be completely made from polyester and specifically engineered to perform fully in a domestic conservatory space.

The key benefit of having a stretch fabric made fully from polyester is that there are no perishables in the fabric. This is important because the elastane found in other stretch fabrics can react very poorly to exposure from UV rays. This can result in discolouration, loss of strength and the fabric losing its elasticity as the fibres fail due to UV exposure. By engineering the ISX fabric to be fully made from polyester we are able to supply a product that can deal with the harsh exposure of direct sunlight and the heat it generates without failing over the course of the fabrics life.

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Fabric Development

Solar Performance

With the ISX fabric being designed specifically for use in a domestic conservatory you are afforded a level of solar performance that is unmatched by any other solution. Thanks to its unique design the ISX fabric will keep your conservatory cool throughout summer and bright in the winter months.

The fabric accomplishes this through its unique mechanical structure, which can reduce heat build- up by as much as 74%, from a maximum of 80% for non-mirrored surfaces, while at the same time completely eliminating glare. However, the sails have been designed in such a way that they will not completely block out the natural light from the sun, as they allow enough diffuse natural light through the sails to keep your conservatory well lit. All in all our sails provide unparalleled solar efficiency for any type of solar control fabric.

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Solar Performance


Throughout its development and with every new batch of ISX fabric that is produced we have aimed to maintain the highest possible standards. To ensure our fabric performs to its fullest ability throughout its lifespan we test every batch of fabric to twice the UV exposure requirement of the British standard for curtains and drapes.

To ensure our fabric holds up to the rigorous environment of a conservatory space all of our fabrics are tested at Colour Fastness to Light (BS 5867-1 2004). This is where the fabric is tested to ensure it can handle exposure to direct sunlight. Added to this every fabric is tested by ourselves to ensure that it affords the correct amount of stretch so that the sails stay taut when in place and not overly stressed. With InShade you know you are purchasing a product that has been built to give you the longest lifespan possible.

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Testing fabric

Design Considerations

As each solution is fully bespoke there are very few restrictions on what can be achieved; with each solution being tailored specifically to meet your needs. Working with our designer, together, we will find the right balance of aesthetic beauty, function and budget.

Because our team works with you to craft the most appropriate design solution for your conservatory space, and knowing what you want, or any limitations you have will allow the designs to be tailored to your exact requirements. As the solutions are fully bespoke there really is no limit to the designs that can be created.

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Design considerations

Measuring & Installation

Measuring for one of our shade sail solutions is surprisingly quick and simple. Watch our online video to see how and where to measure to and then use the online form in the Start Your Design section on this website to send us the information.

Completing the Start Your Design section will provide all of the information we need to provide a design and quote. You will then have the chance to work directly with one of our best designers to review the information and make sure the design meets all of your requirements.

Once a design has been agreed upon you are sent your very own custom sail survey that requests some additional dimensions required to manufacture your shade sail solution. You mark these out using sticky lettered dots and then complete the survey form. We will then check these to make sure everything ties up and ensure the sails will be a perfect fit.

Finally, once you have received your sails and fittings you simply position the eye plates over the lettered dots. The installation process has been created in such a way as to ensure that it is easy and straightforward. It is simply a case of fixing the fittings into place and installing your sails.

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Measuring and installation

Looking After Your Sails

In terms of caring for your sails we have made the process simple and easy to follow. There are no specialist cleaning agents required and they can be washed in a standard domestic washing machine. Simply clean your sails once or twice a year to remove any dirt and dust.

Removing dead flies and other insects before they decompose prevents stains. Unlike traditional blinds where the flies get trapped and are almost impossible to remove with sails you can simply unclip one corner give it a quick shake and the flies simply fall to the floor where you can vacuum or sweep them up.

Over time dust and dirt builds up on a blind and blocks the solar reflection that helps to keep the room cool. With InShade sails you simple unclip them and pop them in the washing machine to restore the look and performance. The sails should be washed at thirty degrees with a mild non- biological powder or liquid detergent. Once they are washed they can be simply placed back into position and allowed to dry naturally.

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Looking after your sails