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Shading to lower energy consumption

Case Studies | June 1, 2020 | By:

Even in black, solar protective shades control the influx of natural light with no loss of outward vision. They also control glare and reflections, which make them ideal for computer users. Photo: Mermet.

The Sandton district in suburban Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to an exciting new mixed-use development known as The Central. It’s also home to the sleek, modern 96 Rivonia Road, a low energy certified building that is the new headquarters of Werksmans and Partners, a 100-year-old law firm. 

Designed by architects Boogertman & Partners, the building reflects the firm’s ancestral roots while looking forward into the 21st century. This duality was achieved by combining two facades—one in pale stone that evokes the history of the company and the other in black glass that projects toward the future.

As a founding member of the Green Building Council in South Africa, attaining a low-consumption building certification was important to Boogertman & Partners. Mitigating for solar protection was an issue, especially in a city that sees an average of 3,100 hours of sunshine a year. 

The architects turned to Mermet, a South Carolina-based maker of high-tech fabrics for solar protection. They chose Screen Nature Ultimetal® in black to cover the banks of windows. The fabric, which features a PVC-free mineral composition with a metal coating for the glass-facing side, is known as “the transparent thermal shield” because of its high solar reflectance (74 percent) combined with excellent visible transmittance. It controls heat by rejecting up to 88 percent of solar energy and acts as thermal insulation to maintain comfort levels in summer and winter. 

The project required 850 interior canvas lengths covering 3,500 m2. They were installed on manual and motorized roller blinds by AC Screens & Shutters. For more information, visit

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