Shade Light Solutions: A History of Innovation

Shade Light Solutions, our residential division, has a history of innovation that spans over 30 years, starting with the establishment of Ver-Tex Construction in 1985. Originally beginning as a full-service window treatment company based out of a garage in Abington, Massachusetts, Ver-Tex’s initial offerings included the cleaning, servicing, and supply of various kinds of blinds, shades, and draperies. Ver-Tex quickly earned a reputation as a one-stop shop to handle all window treatment needs.

From the start, Ver-Tex was focused on providing superior shading solutions, with customer service and quality at the heart of the young company. As technology progressed, Ver-Tex remained conscious of new advances in window treatments. Relationships with a variety of leading brands and vendors allowed the company to provide unbiased advice on a range of commercial projects, while keeping an eye on the latest and greatest in the world of window treatments.

shade light solutions entrance sign

In 2014, Ver-Tex Construction opened its Experience Center showroom in Boston as a resource for developers, contractors, and the A&D community. The Experience Center allows visitors to experience a variety of window treatments firsthand. Before a specified shading solution is implemented into a building, architects/designers, developers, end users, and contractors can learn about the performance differences between fabrics or the functionality and cost benefits of different shade hardware and motors. By enabling construction stakeholders to see, hear, and feel distinct window treatments, Ver-Tex helps clients and customers make more informed decisions.

Schedule an appointment at our Experience Center today and let’s explore the possibilities!

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel: A Unique Challenge in Florida

A guitar-shaped hotel – 30+ stories tall! This was a unique and challenging project for many of the contractors involved in its construction. Ver-Tex Construction was responsible for providing window shades on the edges of the highly sloped floors of the “guitar” base.

Ver-Tex was a relative newcomer to the south Florida market when it was asked by both specified window shading companies, Mecho and Lutron, to be a partner on the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel project in Hollywood, Florida.  Ver-Tex was considered by both to be the most experienced and capable dealer in the territory that would be able to successfully complete this project. Though there were many benefits to the Lutron shade solution – ultra-quiet motors and elegant integration with the lighting control system in each hotel suite – Mecho’s motorized double ShadeLoc zipper system was deemed the best choice to cover the wide and sloped glazing with both light blocking and sunscreen fabrics.

seminole hard rock hotel hollywood florida

For Mecho, the challenges for this particular project were daunting. The engineering requirements for covering 180” wide windows (with up to a 42-degree slope) had never previously been encountered by their accomplished engineering team. Ver-Tex worked closely with them to explore different solutions for these challenges.

After the shade vendor and shading solution were determined, other challenges remained. Implementing the ShadeLoc system as a high performing solution in the suites at the hotel edges required patient and continued coordination with the Owner, the Seminole Gaming Commission, and General Contractor, Suffolk Construction.

seminole hard rock hotel hollywood florida

Luckily, Ver-Tex had one of its top project managers to accomplish this integration. Mike Lowe, a transplant from the company’s NE Headquarters and a long-tenured project manager, took control of the project and worked to ensure that the shade pockets, blocking, and electrical components were constructed to meet the shade installation requirements – not an easy task for this complex project.

Heightening the challenge were construction delays, which compressed the shade installation schedule dramatically. Originally Ver-Tex had an installation schedule of 6-8 months to measure and complete the work.  This timeline got shortened to fewer than 3 months due to unforeseen delays with the work of other trades.

Several of Ver-Tex’s more accomplished Massachusetts-based installers flew down south to support the Florida installation crew’s efforts to ensure on-time completion. It came down to the wire, but the Ver-Tex team pulled it off, and the ShadeLoc installation was successfully completed fewer than 48 hours before the grand opening of the hotel!

Coming Together: Our Focus on Purpose, Vision and Core Values

Earlier this month, the Ver-Tex Construction team came together at our headquarters in Canton for our quarterly company meeting to discuss current programs, future initiatives, and how Ver-Tex can continue to make improvements in fulfilling our purpose: to provide the highest quality service and solutions for our clients’ needs with unrelenting dedication and care.

During the meeting, team members broke out into small groups to brainstorm and identify opportunities for increased efficiency so we can better serve our customers (#BuildPeakMoments – Create unforgettable customer service experiences.), with input from all levels of the organization. Following these small discussions, the teams shared their ideas with the rest of the company. Overall, everyone in the company contributed to the conversation in some way, helping Ver-Tex to continue learning, innovating, and growing as a result of open and honest communication.

These quarterly meetings, which bring together everyone in the company, allow all team members to get on the same page and share their experiences, and maintain an ongoing dialogue for continuous progress (#TeamworkMakesTheDreamWork – Stop, collaborate and listen.). These meetings are instrumental in creating a productive atmosphere that encourages both personal and professional growth for individuals and for Ver-Tex Construction as a whole. By coming together regularly as a team, we are able to more holistically examine our current efforts, consider areas for improvement, and establish action items for increased success (#PushTheEnvelope – Constantly challenge paradigms.).

After the meeting, the team members headed to Westgate Lanes in Brockton to enjoy food, drinks, and bowling (#WorkLifeHarmony – Make time for life.). This post-meeting celebration was a blast, with everyone sharing laughs and exemplifying the last of our Core Values (#WhereEverybodyKnowsYourName: Be a community of care.).

Check out some photos below!

ver-tex construction team member photover-tex team members bowling ver-tex construction team membersteam members bowling ver-tex construction team members ver-tex construction

Giving Thanks, The Ver-Tex Way

As we make our way through the fall season, Thanksgiving approaches and showcases the warmth of our friends, family, and loved ones. It’s during this special time of year that we count our blessings and give thanks, celebrating traditions and coming together in the spirit of the holiday.

For this year’s festivities, the Ver-Tex Construction managers once again chipped in to purchase turkeys (seven total) to give away to our dedicated team members, who continue to work hard to fulfill our purpose: to provide the highest quality service and solutions for our clients’ needs with unrelenting dedication and care.

To announce the winners of the Ver-Tex Construction Turkey Giveaway, we created this fun video for the team to enjoy. Check it out!

With Thanksgiving just days away, we would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for everyone who has played a role in our success, from team members to partners, vendors to clients. From our family to yours, we wish you all a very, very Happy Thanksgiving!

Gary Ludden Joins Ver-Tex Construction as Chief Operating Officer

Ver-Tex Construction announces new Chief Operating Officer as company growth continues

gary ludden team member headshot

Ver-Tex Construction (Ver-Tex) recently announced that Gary Ludden, a proven leader in the construction industry, will join the company as Chief Operating Officer. At Ver-Tex, Ludden will oversee the Operations Division and will assume a strategic role in the overall management of the company.

Ludden brings with him over 30 years of progressive experience in the construction industry, having previously worked as President at Woodmeister Master Builders, a reputable and highly successful high-end residential and commercial millwork and general contracting company. Ludden’s success at Woodmeister includes growing the revenue of his former company significantly during the course of his tenure there and creating a unique management training tool, called the Next Level Leadership Program, which provides individual employees with leadership coaching, personal and professional development, as well as team-building skills at all levels in the company.

Read the full news release here.

Victor Afonso Joins Ver-Tex Construction as Field Operations Manager

Ver-Tex Construction announces new Field Operations Manager as company growth continues

Ver-Tex Construction (Ver-Tex) recently announced that Victor Afonso, a leader and expert in the design & installation of window treatments, will join the company as Field Operations Manager. At Ver-Tex, Afonso will oversee the day-to-day operations of the warehouse, scheduling, and installation teams in addition to long-term strategic planning and implementation of continuous improvement efforts. Afonso brings with him more than 20 years of experience in management at window treatment companies, having run his own business providing consultations and installation of custom window treatments for 14 years prior to joining Ver-Tex as Field Operations Manager.

Read the full news release here.

Daylight Harvesting & A Carbon-Free Boston

In our previous blog posts, we explored several daylighting systems and window treatment options that can help the City of Boston in its goal of becoming 100 percent carbon-free by the year 2050. These daylighting (or daylight harvesting) systems work by using daylight to offset the amount of electric lighting needed to light a space, reducing energy consumption through lighting control systems that adjust electric lighting in response to daylight levels.

Active daylighting systems track sunlight using mechanical methods, with math formulas based on sun path charts used in combination with sensors or lenses that detect light level and maximize the natural daylight present in the space. Electric lighting is adjusted simultaneously, improving energy efficiency and reducing overall energy consumption.

daylight coming in office windows
Daylight harvesting systems reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency, making them a useful tool towards Boston’s goal of using completely carbon-free energy by 2050.

Below are the systems we looked at, along with highlights of each:

Lutron Hyperion

Lutron Hyperion can reduce lighting energy use by 65% or more and is scalable from a single area or individual building to a campus with multiple buildings. The system can work with wireless radio window sensors, adding further functionality by accounting for varied conditions such as weather or shadows from adjacent buildings.

Mecho SolarTrac

SolarTrac’s proprietary algorithms precisely predict the sun’s position based on time, date, building location, and orientation of glass facades, in combination with rooftop radiometers that detect live conditions. The system can save up to 70% in lighting costs and alerts users of potential maintenance needs, with software supporting smartphone access and allowing up to 100 users simultaneously.

Somfy Animeo

Somfy’s Animeo is made up of intelligent, scalable building controls, motor controls, local controls, and a full selection of sensors and additional accessories. Referring to a range of scalable daylighting systems, Animeo software automates management of natural light according to the position of the sun and glass façade orientation, with a variety of available Somfy weather sensors.

Halcyon Shades (with Animeo)

Halcyon shades reduce 99.9% of harmful UV rays, reflect 80% of solar heat gain, and reduce glare by 97%, providing a return on investment in as little as two years in energy savings, with a 10 – 25% savings on a building’s energy spend. Combined with Somfy Animeo, energy efficiency is improved by decreasing solar glare & HVAC demand and reducing electricity needed for lighting.

Daylighting & Energy Efficiency

The single largest operating cost in U.S. commercial buildings is lighting, with lighting systems constituting one-third or more of total electrical energy costs. Additionally, 30% to 50% of U.S. office buildings’ total electrical energy consumption is by lighting systems.

Daylighting systems, if properly applied to new and existing buildings, can drastically reduce the energy consumption of Boston’s buildings, while at the same time improving occupant comfort and productivity. A reduction in energy consumption would allow for improved energy efficiency, helping the City of Boston to attain its ambitious goal: using 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.

If you’re interested in learning more or implementing any of the aforementioned daylighting systems, contact us today.

Halcyon Shades: Energy Efficiency & a Carbon-Free Boston

In our previous blog posts, we took a look at active daylighting systems that can work to help the City of Boston achieve its goal of becoming carbon-free by 2050. Today we look at the energy-saving power of Halcyon Shades, which can integrate with Somfy’s Animeo system, and discuss their possibilities for improving energy efficiency in the context of Boston’s ambitious goal.

Energy Efficiency

To begin, we must note the energy efficiency that Halcyon Shades enable. Halcyon shades reduce 99.9% of harmful UV rays, reflect 80% of solar heat gain, and reduce glare by 97%, providing a return on investment in as little as two years in energy savings. By deriving figures from the Department of Energy’s EQUEST energy modeling software, Halcyon Shades have been shown to save 10 – 25% on a building’s energy spend. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories has confirmed that the metalized polyester material used in the shades can reflect energy, preventing it from penetrating into the building. In addition to this, Halcyon shades are eco-friendly, with third-party verification confirming that these shades contain no PVC, PFCs, VOCs, formaldehyde or antimicrobials. They also meet NFPA 701 standards, reduce energy spend, and reduce carbon emissions.

halcyon shade in boston

Furthermore, Halcyon shades can be integrated into a Somfy Animeo daylighting solution. By combining Animeo’s intelligent building controls, motor controls, local controls, and a full array of sensors and additional accessories with Halcyon’s energy-efficient shades, any building owner, developer, or manager can increase energy efficiency by decreasing HVAC demand and electricity needed for lighting. This allows electrical energy to be diverted elsewhere in the city where it is needed more.

Somfy Animeo & Halcyon Shades

As discussed in our previous blog post, Animeo is able to adjust shades automatically based on the sun’s position and glass façade orientation, taking into account shadow management and real-time weather conditions. It also allows for easy manual override, giving building managers and occupants control over nearby shades. When Halcyon’s energy-saving shades are integrated with the sustainable and scalable Animeo solution, energy usage and costs are drastically reduced, allowing for a building’s electricity to be redirected to a place it can be more efficiently used. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that implementing such shades and systems into Boston’s new and existing buildings will dramatically aid in the city’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

A Carbon-Free Boston: Somfy Animeo & Energy Efficiency

In our last few blog posts, we took a look at two active daylighting systems that can greatly assist the City of Boston in its carbon-free initiative. As we continue to look at active daylighting systems that improve energy efficiency and can help eliminate reliance on carbon-based sources of energy, we’ll be focusing today on Somfy’s Animeo, which consists of intelligent building controls, motor controls, local controls, and a full selection of sensors and additional accessories.somfy animeo ip controller

Somfy Animeo refers to a range of scalable daylighting systems that are compatible with a variety of sun-shading devices, providing flexible solutions for automation and daylighting. Animeo’s software automates natural light management according to the sun’s position and glass façade direction in order to minimize glare and maximize daylighting. Animeo both tracks the sun and incorporates shadow management, which guarantees optimum levels of user comfort by controlling solar shading devices individually or by zones, while also maximizing the amount of comfortable, natural daylight that enters a space.

A variety of Somfy weather sensors are compatible with Animeo, including rain, wind, sun, and temperature sensors. These sensors further enhance Animeo by providing real-time, live weather conditions that affect daylighting, allowing the system to adjust shades accordingly based on these conditions. Animeo allows for easy manual override, giving occupants control over nearby window coverings.commercial building with glass facade & window shades

Animeo is a sustainable and scalable digital solution for buildings, with no zone limitation and an intuitive user interface that allows for simplified commissioning, building management, and technical support.  By intelligently reducing power consumption from artificial light and diminishing heat gain/cooling loss, the Somfy Animeo daylighting system effectively integrates automation technology in order to improve energy efficiency. With approximately 75% of Boston’s emissions coming from energy use in buildings, reducing energy demand in these buildings through measures such as having an efficient active daylighting system will prove instrumental in supporting Boston in its carbon-free mission.

Be on the lookout for our next blog post, where we’ll discuss Halcyon Shades’ technology, specifically designed to dramatically reduce carbon emissions generated by a building.

Mecho Solar Trac: Harvesting Daylight for Energy Efficiency

In our previous two blog posts, we explored how daylight harvesting (or daylighting) improves energy efficiency through harnessing the power of sunlight, thereby aiding Boston in its mission if implemented properly. We looked at Lutron’s Hyperion system before, and now we’ll be discovering another active daylighting system that can help Boston on its way to becoming carbon-free by 2050: Mecho’s award-winning SolarTrac 4.0.

Mecho Solar Trac

SolarTrac’s proprietary algorithms precisely predict the sun’s position based on time, date, building location, and orientation of glass facades, in combination with rooftop radiometers that detect live conditions. Rooftop radiometers complement these algorithms by determining live conditions and reporting them, so that the shades adjust accordingly. Shades are automatically adjusted to optimize daylight entering a space and alleviate solar glare for a more comfortable and productive environment. SolarTrac also reduces solar-heat gain, which aids in reducing energy costs by decreasing demands on cooling systems.

The state-of-the-art SolarTrac 4.0 daylighting system is extremely user-friendly, with self-diagnostics alerting users to potential maintenance needs, and PC-based software supporting smartphone access and allowing up to 100 users at the same time. SolarTrac’s automation can be configured to meet the needs of a single floor, façade, building, or entire campus.

SolarTrac 4.0’s precise daylight harvesting can save up to 70% in lighting costs. By improving energy efficiency through decreased demand for electric lighting, utilization of SolarTrac allows for excess electric energy from a building to be diverted elsewhere. Elimination of unnecessary energy usage via daylight harvesting will go a long way in helping Boston with its challenging carbon-free endeavor.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll be examining Somfy’s animeo IP daylight harvesting system, taking into account its various features and impact on energy consumption and efficiency.