Guest post: Window treatments can reduce energy costs
Today’s post comes from Richard Moyle, the content writer for Horizon Window Treatments in New York City. Horizon has the largest showroom in Manhattan and has provided the NYC metro area with high-quality custom blinds, shades and draperies for over 10 years.
The primary concerns most people have when shopping for new window treatments are decoration and privacy. But certain types of window treatments can cut your energy costs in half by preventing heat loss or gain. This is not only good for your wallet, but for the environment as well. However, there isn’t one type of treatment that can give maximum energy efficiency to every home, so there are a couple things to take into consideration.
Let’s say you live in an area where temperatures are low most of the year and your biggest concern is heat loss. If properly installed, window shades can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to avert heat loss. The shades should be mounted as close to the glass as possible with the sides of the shade close to the wall. This will create a sealed air space and make it difficult for the heat to escape. Shades should be raised on the south side of the house in the daytime during the winter to let in the heat from the sunlight and then lowered at night. For even more effective insulation, go with dual shades as they are reflective on one side and heat absorbent on the other. Dual shades must be drawn all day to be effective and the reflective side should always face the warmest side.
If you live in a warmer region and heat gain is your primary concern, blinds may be your best option. Because of the numerous openings between the slats, blinds don’t do very much good at preventing heat loss. However, when it comes to reducing heat gain, blinds have an advantage over shades because these slats can be adjusted to control ventilation and light. Highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45% when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window.
As stated before, decoration is usually one of the primary concerns when shopping for window treatments and draperies can definitely give a room that elegant feel you may be looking for. But, it is difficult to generalize about their energy performance because draperies come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics. Medium-colored drapes with white-plastic backings have been found to reduce heat gains by 33%. Compared to other window treatments, draperies also stay cooler in the summer because their pleats and folds lose heat through convection. In the winter, however most conventional draperies can only reduce heat loss by 10% when drawn. However, that number can be pushed to 25% if they are hung as close to the window as possible, a cornice is installed at the top and the drapery is sealed at both sides and overlapped in the center.
In the end, the energy efficiency of a window treatment can only be determined by your home’s insulation needs. If these factors are taken into consideration you should be able to find a treatment that not only serves your home décor and privacy needs, but will save you money and help the environment as well.