Mecho shades

Cradle to Cradle

Optimizing building performance through solar control, Mecho’s manual, and now motorized shading systems are designed for circularity.

Mecho was a sponsor of the Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability 2021 Symposium.

When thinking about sustainability, designers often look to major objects like furniture, flooring, and textiles to make sure that their projects are as sustainable as possible. But there are hidden systems like window shades that must be taken into account.

For years, Mecho, a company that produces widow shade systems to optimize buildings’ solar performance, has been designing their products with Cradle to Cradle principles of material health, material reutilization, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness in mind. “Applying the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM framework has helped us drive positive change in a variety of ways, including providing us with a pathway for continuously improving the material health of our products,” says Rachel Berman, Mecho’s sustainability program manager. Beginning in the 1990s, they began redesigning their shade cloths to be more sustainable, engineering out harmful chemicals such as ortho-phthalates, PVC, and chemical flame retardants. The EcoVeil and EcoVeil Sheer product lines offer a more sustainable version than traditional PVC based shadecloths.

a conference room with mecho shades

Refusing to settle for only certified shade fabric, Mecho’s aim has been to provide fully certified shade systems. Since then, Mecho certified all of its manual shade systems and all of its PVC-free solar shade systems are now Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM or have a Cradle to Cradle Material Health Certificate. More recently, their ElectroShade iQ2 AC + DC System was selected by Cradle to Cradle to participate in the organization’s Version 4 pilot program, and when certified it will be the world’s first Cradle to Cradle Certified motorized shade system. With custom hardware assemblies and thousands of potential parts making up each ElectroShade installation, planning for product circularity for a motorized system was a new challenge for the brand. But Berman cites Cradle to Cradle Version 4’s robust circularity requirements and materials passport as helpful tools for establishing end-of-life plans for all of their components. In the future, she hopes, making more products a part of the circular economy will drive demand and help strengthen the networks that are required for true circularity, creating a virtuous cycle.

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