Window Treatment Options
Increasing the sustainability of your home does not always have to be difficult or complicated. Installing solar panels can seem daunting, but basic additions like window treatments and coverings can do remarkable things for your energy consumption, and improve the comfort of your home in the process. For instance – a simple window awning over the windows on the west side of your house can inhibit solar heat by 77 percent, according to Energy.gov.
You have quite a few options available when choosing how to improve your windows. Here are a few of the more popular ones.
Window image by InAweofGod’sCreation via Flickr.
Sometimes it is more effective to stop the sun before it ever reaches your windows. In hot climates window awnings can reduce solar heat gain considerably. When looking for an awning, choose one that is made from high quality, sustainable materials. This is more sustainable in the long run, as a well-made awning can last for many years. Keep in mind that the lighter colored the awning, the more light it will reflect.
Take the time to change to heavier curtains in the winter, says Houzz.com. Aside from looking more appropriate for the season, heavier curtains provide extra insulation to prevent heat loss.
Statistics from Energy.gov indicate that hanging heavy curtains can reduce heat loss by about 10 percent. It recommends hanging curtains closer to the wall to create a better seal. If you want to go the extra mile, use fasteners like Velcro to maximize their effectiveness.
Shades and Blinds
Shades can be quite effective for inhibiting heat absorption into your home. Many sustainable styles are now available, including traditional wood blinds and cloth shades with insulating pockets. You can choose which best fits your budget and style.
It is best to place your shades as close to the window as possible, with the sides of the shades almost touching the wall, says NC State University. This creates an insulation pocket. You can go one better by using dual sided shades — white on one side to reflect heat in summer, dark on the other side to absorb it in winter.
Having window films installed is an option if your home is in a warm area. Window films block some of the sun’s heat while still letting light in, according to CleanTechnica.com. They can prove especially effective on larger windows.
It is questionable how sustainable window films are. They are synthetic, requiring petroleum products to produce. Decisions like this pop up frequently when determining the sustainability of technologies, and ultimately you must weigh the benefits versus the environmental cost.
Shutters are another classic example of old-world technology that continues to deliver impressive benefits in sustainability. Shutters can be sourced from sustainable materials, and can provide excellent protection from heat gain and heat loss.
Shutters with blinds incorporated into them are good for reducing heat gain, and can allow ventilation into your home. However, they do not work as well for insulating against heat loss. For this, you will need solid shutters.
Solid shutters are created with a vapor barrier in between the wood panels, which provides an extra layer of insulation between your windows and the exterior of your home. Shutters also come in many decorative options, allowing you to increase the beauty of your home along with its energy efficiency.
What Works For You
It is possible to pick and choose from all of these different window treatment options, and to combine many of them as well. Choose what works best for your needs. It only takes a little effort to drastically reduce your energy consumption by controlling heat loss and gain through your windows.
While the above are great tips for having energy efficient window treatment options, there are a number of other ways your can save energy in your home. Here some great energy saving tips around the home that you can start using today to drop your usage and ultimately the bills that you pay every month!
Conserving energy on a daily basis not only helps the environment but also your own pocket book!