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Evolved Workplaces
Jewel of Houston
609 Main at Texas Shines

Lobby of high-end office building with several lounge windows, containing lounge couches around a low table

 

From its soaring lobby clad in beautiful stone and wood finishes to its panoramic, skylighted penthouse loft, 609 Main at Texas in Downtown Houston is an aesthetic marvel designed to maximize the comfort and daily experience of its workplace tenants.

According to Lars Koster, Senior Vice President of HINES, 609 Main is an example of the company’s dedication to building and managing real estate that is not only far-reaching in architectural design but also energy-efficient and sustainability-driven. “609 Main is an example of HINES’ investment build strategy,” Koster says. “We build to own, so we invest for the long term to maximize operation efficiency and savings. That’s why Hines has always been a leader and, frankly, a pioneer in sustainability, whether it's using shades to cut the amount of heat and gain coming through windows any other aspect of a building. I’m proud to say that we’ve done more LEED-rated buildings than any other developer.”

The man Behind the Business: J.B. Tinney
J.B. Tinney knows his business.
For nearly forty years, he has been a valued partner to architects and general contractors across the Southeast, working on iconic Class-A office-building projects as well as coveted residential developments. Today, he is President of Houston-based Architectural Fabric Systems, Inc., a Texas distributor of Legrand Commercial shades. Legrand Commercial Shading sat down with Tinney to talk about roller shades and why he thinks going motorized is the best bet for the long term.

LCS: You’ve said you ideally like to start a project by educating the client first on the benefits of roller shades.
TINNEY: I go to the end user first, before I go talk to the architect or the general contractor, because it’s the client who's financing and overseeing the project.

LCS: So what’s something a client might expect from this education?
TINNEY: Almost universally, any Class-A office building project today is going to feature floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s what the clients want, it’s what the architect wants. Who doesn’t love all that natural light and the benefits of daylighting for increased comfort and energy-efficiency? But when it comes to controlling all that light and heat coming through all those windows, the practice is to usually go with installing mini-blinds and not rollershades.

LCS: Why is installing roller shades more effective than mini-blinds? 
TINNEY: It comes down to three things: creature comfort, cleanliness and energy efficiency. And you can add to that just plain old-fashioned better-looking aesthetics. With shades you can look outside, even when they’re down. You can knock out the glare and the heat and still maintain to enjoy the views. And mini-blinds collect dust, but they’re heat conducive and re-radiate heat into the interior, which is both uncomfortable and less energy-efficient. And let’s be honest, without any uniformity, mini-blinds can look bad from the inside and the outside. Because of its monolithic shape, a roller shade doesn't interfere with interior design. That’s why it’s preferable to architects who found the lines of mini-blinds competing with their design work.

LCS: But aren’t there cost-savings with mini-blinds? 
TINNEY: In the short-term, yes. But with changing tastes and standards, particularly as buildings become even more focused on sustainability and energy-efficiency, you’re seeing more of a shift to roller shades. In the last five years especially, this business has moved from a specialty market to more of a commodity market. With improvements in technology and design, not just in the mechanics of the shading system, but also in the shade fabric, there’s an increased demand for quality roller shades, and increased competition, and I think both are signs of a strong future for commercial shading systems..

LCS: How do you see the future for commercial shading systems?
TINNEY: Going motorized. For now, the business remains a 75-25 equation, with 75% manual shades and 25% motorized, but with improved means of control over manual shading, going motorized is better for long term energy-efficiency and sustainability, and given trends in Europe, along with higher LEED standards in the US, I’d like to think it’s inevitable.

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