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StarShade Solar Screens Blog

StarShade Philosophy of Helping Others

I have spent this morning responding to the many reviews our customers have posted about StarShade. I really can't tell you how proud and humbled I feel. I know that statement appears to have some cognitive disonnence, but not so. Our goal is to help others and when you receive a kind word about your work, it lets you know that you are doing things the right way. The thought that a customer took their precious time to write a review about you and then post it for others to see is very humbling. I will gain a lot of pleasure entering in their reviews onto our review page for prospective clients to see. 

Our entire process at StarShade is about helping others. I heard a car commercial where they stated that they had a low-pressure sales force. Personally, I don't like pressure, even low pressure, when I am making a buying decision. I don't think that others should have to endure it either. 

Respecting Time      

I receive many calls, each and every day, with someone trying to sell me something, steal from me or scam me. These people are stealing my time. Our time is the only thing we have of value. We trade our time for money in the workplace, then we take that and trade it with others for their time... and so on. I make it a point to never steal the time of anyone, and especially those of whom have graciously given me their time by inviting me to share information about our products and services. 

When we visit with a family with an interest in our company, we do our best to access their needs. We show a sample of the product and explain how it works. We then quote a price for the products and services needed. Usually this takes about 30 minutes. After we leave, we send a formal quote via email with all of the information. At StarShade we never call customers after we have given them an estimate. We always are willing to help people when they call us, if they still have questions. 

Repecting People

The "Golden Rule" may seem corny to some, but for us at StarShade, it is a way of life. Whe we enter a store front looking for some information about a perceived need, we want an attentive, competent, knowledgeable person to answer our questions. That is resonable. Where "Excellent Service" used to be common, now it seems uncommon, even when paying a premium for it.  StarShade understands that people want to know you care about them and their situation. Arriving at an appointment on time may seem unusual, but at StarShade we break our backs to arrive on time or early. We keep in contact with the prospective customer when obstacles arise. Showing common courtesy and respecting a person's time should be commonplace.

When we drive into a neighborhood, we always drive slower than the posted limit. A small thing, but it shows respect. It is something we would hope others would do when driving in our neighborhood. We don't adjust our pricing according to zipcode. We treat everyone fairly and professionaly. When a customer has a problem, we attend to it promptly. When you are a StarShade customer, you are a customer for life. We are fiercly loyal when it comes to someone who has chosen us to help them. 

True Story

Before I begin, I have to say that I have been happily married to Catherine for 15 years. It was a first marriage for both of us. In 2000, I was 49 1/2, and that was when Cathrine and entered into marital bliss. We both have many alternative phases for "marital bliss", but this is a PG blog. I am still new to this marriage thing, so please forgive me if I am not always politically correct. She still has a lot of work to do on me.I find that moving targets are harder to hit.

So anyways, my wife and I are lying on the bed watching Hulu and a joke starts forming in my head. I finally formulate it and want to test it on my wife. So I say to her.

A guy is sitting down at dinner with his wife eating salad. She says to him, Honey I need to tell you something. What's that? Well, this morning when you came out of the bathroom, your fly was open and you had a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Then when you sat down at breakfast, you had a few drops of coffee spill onto the crotch of your khaki pants. And when you were reading the newspaper, you got a smudge of ink on your face. Then when the cat came in, you sneezed and had a booger hanging out of your nose. Outraged, he says, "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" I was just waiting for you to get a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth.

I looked at my wife for a reaction, thinking I was being pretty clever. Nothing no laugh, chuckle, smile,..nothing. So I say to her, "You should be laughing your asses off." At which point, I became the recipient of a Gibbs slap,  ranking at least a 7.2 on the richter scale. Too much?        

You Gotta Laugh

My wife and I both suffer from depression. There is a constant row over who gets the anti-depressants. We find it is really important to laugh, most especially during the dark days. There has been a cycle in my life since I was a teenager. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 40. That's a lot of time living with a near dibilitating disease. Knowing that you have depression is most of the battle. Going undiagnosed gives you a world of pain and little help in coping with your problem. But, if you know you have depression, you can activly fight it. Some people with depression feel tired, trapped and helpless.

Your self esteem suffers because you can't function as others do. Others turn to drugs, alcohol or sex to try and stop the feeling of desperation. Most people don't understand depression so it is hard to explain exactly what you are going through... even to family members. They may try, but most just don't get it. My wife knows I am a joker and I am almost never serious in our day to day stuff. 

So anyways, I am driving my wife to the Air Force base to make some useless purchases. Having a great depth of knowledge about each other, I say to her,"Stay out of the razor blade isle."  My wife is one sharp cookie, she immediatley catches on to what I am intimating. She says, "They only have safety razors there." At to which I respond, "You can get the double edged ones at the hardware store."  We both had a good laugh and it made the day a little brighter.               

Review of Solar Screens Compared to Window Tint

Example of bad window tinting

Many San Antonio homeowners have tried window tint to keep the summer sun from heating their windows, overworking their air conditioning unit, and driving up their electricity bill.

There are many horror stories about window tint on the internet.  Improper cleaning, bubbles and flaking seem to be the most prevalent. I am writing this in response to a local window/siding/tint company giving a review on solar screens. Much of what was posted was false or inaccurate. Although, I own the URL and, I do not offer window tint service. Please read further and you will discover why I do not offer window tint.

How Does Window Tint Work?

Basically, window tint is designed to reject the thermal rays that make sunlight increase temperature. Solar window tint is spectral-selective, meaning that it only lets certain wavelengths of radiation pass through. By blocking the wavelengths that create heat, solar window tint acts as a filter that prevents interior heating without blocking the illuminating features of the sun’s rays.

How Much Heat Can Window Tint Block?

Heat rejection properties vary by tint type, shade, and quality. Different tint providers also offer differing types of solar tint. Solar rejection film blocks about 40% – 71% of heat. Prices increase for higher solar rejection properties.

Window Tint Cons and Problems

Most window manufactures warranties are voided once window film is applied. I have visited customers with terrible tint applications. Some tints actually increase heat build up. I am often asked to cover up tinted windows with solar screens. If a window is not super clean before tint application, problems will occur. Over time, flaking or bubbles may occur. Once a problem has been identified, short of complete removal and re-installation, very little may be done. I personally have measured tinted glass temperatures as high as 169 degrees over at Gunn Chevrolet. I have never seen a do-it-yourselfer that could professionally install window tint, so if you want window tint, be prepared to pay $6-$9 a square foot for a professional installation.

Solar Screens Alternativesan antonio home with solar screens and arched window

The real advantage to solar screens is that they are one of the most inexpensive solutions available. Once again, unless you have an enormous amount of experience in building and installing solar screens, you are better off having a professional building and installing them. At StarShade, we never screw into our frame or your window frame. All screens are easily removed and replaced and do hot come off even in bad weather. They are very affordable and are priced at  $3.50 – $5.50 per square foot, depending on the type of solar screen frame needed to cover your window. This price should include installation. Compared to complete window replacement, or even tinting, this is definitely a cheaper option. Solar screens provide great daytime privacy, save on electricity consumption, lower costs for air conditioning maintenance, make you home more comfortable, protect furniture, carpeting, blinds and shears from fading and look great.

Roller Shade Alternative

Solar roller shades are a more expensive, but offer more flexibility to cover your hot windows. Roller shades, depending on the size of the window covered, can have a manual, crank or motorized transport system, and are available for interior or exterior use. The same solar fabric used on solar screens is also available on roller shades. In the up position, you have complete unobstructed visibility. When down, heat and glare are diminished and you have great privacy. Prices range from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending upon size and options.         

Apple Data Centers Go Green

Apple Data Center Hub

California-based technology company Apple is fast establishing itself as a leader in the green movement.

The company behind sleek, well-designed devices like the iPhone and the iPad has come under fire from environmental watchdog agencies – most recently Greenpeace – for not having used sustainable energy and practices in their buildings and manufacturing processes in the past. 

Greenpeace released a report in 2011 called “How Dirty is Your Data? Internet firms were graded on the filthiness of its cloud operations. Apple was deemed to be one of the worst offenders, mostly reling on coal. Greenpeace targeted Apple for demonstrations, in 2012, inside Apple’s Fifth Ave retail store. Shortly after, Apple made an annoucement that the company intended to power all its operations with forms of renewable energy. Apple was publicly called out for relying on coal-based energy in its data centers. Eager to be the kind of corporation that leads by example, rather than being forced to act when a law is passed, the folks within the company instantly got to work finding alternative sources of power to make these facilities more sustainable.

In 2014,  Greenpeace issued Apple a grade of 100 percent, as all of its total data center power was coming from renewable energy. Apple invested more than $1 billion in new energy projects.

There's even a fully functioning solar energy farm directly adjacent to the North Carolina site. And it's not just the data storage centers that Apple has been working to green either.