What do you think of when someone says “energy-efficient homes”?
Do you think of appliances and home electronics with an ENERGY STAR logo? Or do you think of homes with a passive solar house design?
Either way, you’re right.
But there are also other, simpler ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home. You don’t have to go for a whole-house systems approach right away. You can start with your windows and window coverings.
Let’s take a closer look at the most energy-efficient window coverings.
Why Window Coverings?
Did you know that you could lose up to 30% of your home’s heating energy through your windows?
The good news is, most types of window coverings can help prevent that energy loss. Of course, your energy savings will depend on the type of covering you choose.
There are window attachments that offer more comfort. And they’re also better at lowering heating and cooling bills.
If you choose window coverings with insulating values of R-2 to R-4, you can enjoy up to $150 in annual energy savings. In energy efficiency, the R-value of a material is a measurement of its ability to prevent heat transfer.
The higher the R-value of a material, the better it works as an insulator. As you probably already know, good insulators prevent heat loss, which is something you want if you want lower energy bills. Window coverings with good R-values help keep your home comfortable by keeping it cool during the summer and warm in the winter.
Your Best Options
Energy-efficient window coverings don’t need window replacement. The window treatments discussed here will work with the windows you already have.
Now, if you have a budget and style in mind, you can work with a company that offers custom window treatment. This way, you don’t have to worry if the window treatment you choose will fit your windows.
That said, here are 5 energy-saving window treatments we recommend.
1. Window Blinds
Blinds, curtains, shades, and some shutters are operable window coverings. In simple terms, it means you can open or close them whenever you want.
Aside from giving you privacy, operable window coverings let natural light in. Blinds, in particular, are better at reducing summer heat gain. During winter though, they aren’t as good at preventing heat from escaping.
That means they’re a good option if you live in an area with a tropical climate such as South Florida. For further heat gain reduction, you can opt for reflective blinds.
Horizontal slat-type blinds are also a good option if you have a light-colored ceiling. They can reflect sunlight and then your ceiling could further diffuse the heat.
2. Roller Shades
Roller shades are an inexpensive option, using a roller bar fitted atop a window. You can raise and lower them, controlling the amount of sunlight you let in.
If you wish to maximize heat retention using roller shades, proper installation is a must. Paired with a reflective coating, roller shades can reduce heat loss by about 45%.
Choose roller shades in an opaque shade. They’re more energy-efficient than translucent ones. The lighter the color of your shades, the lower their R-value.
As for fabric options, you’re better off going heavier. Keep in mind that the heavier the fabric, the better its thermal performance.
3. Solar Shades
Solar shades or solar screen shades are a type of roller shades that use a special fabric block sunlight and ultraviolet rays. They offer several benefits compared to conventional drapes, and other window treatments.
In the summer, solar shades can keep rooms comfortable by keeping sunlight out, while preventing the transfer of heat indoors. The latter is especially useful. Since solar shades help keep indoor temperatures comfortable, you don’t need to use air conditioning as much, even during the summer.
They’re also available in a wide variety of designs and sizes, making them perfect for every room in your home. With solar shades, you can skip the drapes and blinds. That’s because they provide a clear view outside, which is something other window treatments don’t offer.
4. Cellular Shades
Honeycomb blinds or cellular shades have the highest R-values among window coverings. You see, the air pockets in the honeycomb cross-sections function as insulators. This ups the R-value and prevents heat loss through the window.
Compared to typical window blinds and shades, honeycomb blinds are more expensive. But this is a case where you get what you pay for if you’re looking for energy performance. Cellular shades combine significant energy savings with privacy.
Unlike solar shades, you can use cellular shades for every room in your home.
If you want, there are also cellular shades that operate on a set schedule. This is great if you want to maximize your energy savings.
With automated cellular shades, you don’t have to worry about when to open or close your shades. They’re calibrated for optimal heating and cooling loads.
Old-fashioned drapes can be energy-efficient if you choose the right ones. In the summer, you can use medium-colored draperies. In the winter, go for heavier fabrics and keep them closed to reduce heat loss.
For insulation purposes, pay special attention to how you hang your drapes. Make sure you hang them close to the windows. If you can place them against the ceiling, better.
This will create a seal that will prevent heat from escaping in colder weather. You can also skip the interlining if you live in an area where freezing temperatures are rare. The lining would be enough to insulate the room.
Looking for Energy-Efficient Window Coverings?
You have plenty of options when it comes to energy-efficient window coverings. You can have window blinds or solar shades. Or you can go for roller shades, drapes or cellular shades.
Choosing the right window treatment for each room in your home shouldn’t be a problem.
But if you need more help, we offer a free in-home consultation. Our number one priority is to make customers happy. Fifty Shades and Blinds is all about quality products at affordable prices.
For more information, don’t hesitate to call us at (954) 882-5009 – (561) 320-0092. We service Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties!