What do the solar reflective performance figures actually mean?

The solar reflective performance figures claimed by fabric manufacturers varies enormously and should not be relied upon if comparing performance statistics.

Never make a decision based on statistics or claims of performance. There is no single fabric that outperforms all others without also significantly reducing natural light to the point where it darkens your conservatory and adjoining rooms.

Always consult a genuine conservatory blinds specialist, as opposed to a general blind retailer or direct-sales company and make sure that they are willing to confirm their advice in writing.

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Some fabric manufacturers measure the optical (or visible) light, whilst others measure the heat energy (some measure both). Despite both types of energy coming from the same source they are two completely different things and so should not be compared. In both cases they are always measured using artificial light and/or heat sources, rather than the sun.

The output of the light and/or heat source as well as its angle and distance from the test fabric will wildly affect the figures achieved. Manufacturers do not always state whether the test is conducted through any particular form of glazing.

Some general blind retailers may well also quote SPF (Sun Protection Factor) which is a relative measure of how much UV is being blocked (not heat) and as almost all conservatory blind fabrics significantly reduce UV this is quite misleading. 

You will find countless salesmen willing to make outlandish claims about how only their fabric is suitable for your needs and how it outprforms everything else. Never take this seriously.

If in doubt, contact the BBSA and ask for specific data results using their Shade Specifier based on the fabric type and details of your conservatory.

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