Until a few years ago most experience with interior shading in a typical commercial office space dealt primarily with the impact on audio-visual presentations in meeting rooms. Often, blackout shades eliminated light and glare, and attendees experienced almost a movie theater type of lighting environment. Interior shading today is focused on energy conservation, specifically addressing the reduction of heat gain from the sun and daylight harvesting.
Interior shading tends to be less effective than exterior shading and window treatments for energy conservation, because interior shading deals with the sun's heat after it has already entered the building. Some of the effectiveness of interior shading depends on the color of the shade; light colors reflecting some of the sun's heat, dark colors absorbing the sun's heat. Except for some energy-related benefits interior shading functions best when it is filtering rather than blocking light and controlling glare.
Manual interior shading further decreases the energy effectiveness of the shading because it depends on a user's behavior, which may be intermittent. Automated interior shading uses motors to move the shade in place, with the control of the motor determining the overall automated functionality of the shade. Automated shades can respond to sun sensors, switches, a schedule, or a specific lighting condition.
When shading is deployed building-wide the network topology of the shading devices is analogous to a BAS system; that is individual shade motors are connected to a controller, which in turn are connected to a BACnet network. Eventually it connects to an IP network which includes a server connected for the management and monitoring of the shades. The shade server will typical have read and write capabilities for all points and values, and provide data on shade position and overall system operation.