Energy Efficient Window Treatments
Does your home seem warmer in the summer and colder in the winter? It's not your imagination. You could be losing up to 30% of your home's energy efficiency through windows.
Even if you have brand new windows or new construction, the right window treatment can keep more conditioned air in your home. It's not only "drafty" windows that you have to consider, it's also the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). This measures how well window coverings block heat from the sun that is flowing through the window pane.
An easy way to improve energy efficiency is with insulated blinds and shades. There are several styles to choose from, depending on your design and functional needs.
Cellular Shades (Honeycomb Shades)
These are the most energy efficient window coverings you can buy. They keep your rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer through a series of cell pockets that trap the air around your windows. Independent testing shows a reduction of heat transfer up to 56% in the summer, and 22% in the winter.
Levels of energy efficiency are determined in two ways - amount of cells and pleat size.
Single cell shades have a single layer of honeycomb material. This is a more affordable option, and a great choice for moderate climates where energy efficiency is not a major concern.
Double cell shades are the most popular style and are a great fit for most climates. The second layer of cellular pockets gives your windows even more protection from outside temperatures.
Triple cell shades are best for homes in extreme climates that need the highest levels of energy efficiency.
Cellular shades are offered in several different pleat sizes - 3/8", 9/16", 1/2", 3/4" and 1 1/4". The larger the pleat, the more energy efficient the shade. Larger pleat sizes trap more air - making your room more comfortable.
Design aesthetics need to be considered when considering pleat size. Small pleats look better in small windows, while larger and taller windows look better with larger pleats.
While cellular shades come in a myriad of colors, the street-side color is most often white. This allows you to design your home in the boldest of color and patterns on the inside, yet maintain a cohesive look and curb appeal from the outside, pleasing the pickiest HOA's and condo associations.
Cellular shades have plenty of lift options available, including cordless, cord loop, top down bottom up and even remote control.
Here are a few more energy saving tips for cellular shades:
The closer to the glass your shade is installed - the more energy efficient it will be - establishing a sealed air space.
In warmer months - lower the shades to prevent warm air escaping into the room.
In colder months - raise the shades during the day when the sun is shining to help warm a room and lower them in the evening.
While plantation shutters are known for being beautiful, they also contain a great secret; they are amazingly energy efficient. Material composition will determine the level of energy efficiency. Solid frame plantation shutters are insulating in their construction, however hollow vinyl frame shutters like our Bella View Trademark Faux Wood Shutter will trap air similar to honeycomb shades. Moveable louvers allow natural daylight and ventilation into the room, while blocking direct sun rays.
If your room is too warm and privacy isn't a concern, solar shades may be a good fit for you. Solar shades block strong solar heat but maintain a great view to the outside. Keep in mind, when it is dark outside and you have lights on inside, passers-by will be able to see in - which is the downfall to solar shades. To circumvent this, you can add privacy as well as a dash of décor by paring with a custom drape.
Custom Draperies and Layering Window Treatments
Draperies are a great way to add an extra layer of insulation to your windows. These aren't your Grandma's curtains! Our Bella View custom draperies have a variety of liner options ranging from thermal that will still allow light into the room; to room darkening and blackout. All of which can be added to nearly 200 different fabrics providing you with a large range of colors, textures and styles to fit every décor. Drapery can be used alone or layered with any window covering style you choose. Combining the two not only gives an elevated designer style, but it also helps keep temperatures at a comfortable level. No matter which window treatment you choose, adding drapery will give you an extra layer of energy efficiency.
Other ways to improve energy efficiency all around the house
While window treatments can significantly impact your energy efficiency, there are a few steps you can save to begin saving money today.
- Install water saving shower heads.
- Lower the water temperature setting on your water heater.
- Be sure faucets are turned off completely. Fix any leaky faucets immediately.
- Wrap your hot water tank with an insulating water heater blanket.
Heating and Cooling
- Turn down your thermostat.
- Consider a programmable thermostat and set it to lower temperatures at night and during the day while you're away at work.
- Move furniture away from the heat source. Blocking the heat source makes the system work harder.
- Be sure to turn off your heat when you open your windows.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use.
- Replace or clean furnace filters and air conditioner filters.
- Turn off lights when not in a room.
- Replace your bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified lighting.
- Consider putting lights on a dusk to dawn timer to prevent them running 24/7.
- Use cold water to rinse your laundry.
- Only run the washer with full loads.
- Only use maximum washing time for highly soiled clothing.
- If your clothes dryer has one, use an automatic cycle.
Cooking and Cleaning
- Use cold water when running your garbage disposal.
- Don't open the oven more than necessary when cooking as this allows heat to escape.
- Don't let your refrigerator or freezer door stand open.
- Allow your dishes to air dry in the dishwasher.
- Run your dishwasher only with full loads.
- Where possible, sweep with a broom rather than running a vacuum cleaner.
- Don't allow the water to run while cleaning. Instead, fill a bucket with warm soapy water and carry it with you.
- Use exhaust fans wisely. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air
- Electronics use electricity when even plugged in. Consolidate into a power strip to turn them off when not in use.
For more information on this program, visit the ENERGY STAR website at EnergyStar.gov.