Having your home be energy efficient is one of the top concerns for homeowners. One of the ways you can do this is the addition of window treatments. In fact, window treatments are more than just a way to improve the appearance of your home; they can also save you money on your energy bills. This complete guide to energy efficient window treatments will walk you through the many different options you have to improve the appearance of your home and save you money at the same time.
The first window treatment is one most people are familiar with today. Awnings are attached to the exterior of the home over a window. Traditionally they were constructed from either metal or some canvas material. The downside to this type of construction is the metal would start to look rusted, and the canvas material would need to be replaced when it became torn or dingy. Awnings nowadays are made from vinyl or acrylic. These materials stand up well to the weather, specifically water, and last a long time. The installation of awnings on your home can reduce up to 70 percent of the solar heat gain that affects the heating and cooling of your home.
There are two basic options when you select awnings for their energy saving purposes. There is retractable or roll up type and the stationary awnings.
Blinds can be an inexpensive option to control heat in the summer. Interior shades come in both horizontal and vertical. Exterior blinds are typically roll up horizontal blinds. Both can be made of vinyl, although exterior can be made of some materials including steel or aluminum. Blinds are great for their versatility because they can be adjusted. Vertical blinds can go up and down and rotate in and out. This action will allow for fresh air to enter the home and block the sun at the same time. When exterior blinds are rolled down, the slats will come together. It creates a considerable amount of sun blockage. In turn, will keep the sun and heat off your window and stop from heating up your home. In the winter, they can provide additional warm with being rolled up and allowing the sun rays in.
Panels are mostly plastic inserts that can go either inside or outside of the window. Exterior panels can have a mesh screen attached to allow for airflow into the home without pesky insects coming in. They are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive. Because there are gaps in the plexi glass, plastic, or glass insert to reveal a mesh screen, you can save yourself big time in the spring/fall months by just opening your window. These options typically don’t help much with insulating your home efficiently, but they do provide some amount of energy saving benefits.
Drapery is one of the easiest installs on the market as far as window treatments go. They require a bracket above the sides of the window, a rod, and the curtain or drape. Drapes and curtains are made of fabric, and which material was chosen will directly impact how well it reduces heat coming in. Some brands on the market have this specific purpose in mind, they are usually referred to as blackout window drapes or curtains. They are a little more expensive than just your run of the mill drapes, but they work exceptionally well. On one side of these drapes, they are covered with a white reflective fabric and on the other a more substantial material to block any additional heat that isn’t reflected. An effective drape when kept closed during the summer months can block approximately 33% of the sun heat gains. In the winter it can help insulate and keep out the cold by 10%.
Window films are very effective at blocking the heat during summer. However, it doesn’t perform very well in the winter. Many factors will play into how well this option will work for saving on energy cost. For instance, window films don’t work well on specific facing windows and aren’t great for climates that have shorter summer weather. They will work better on east and west facing windows. The best type you can buy for its energy saving benefits is the reflective mirror type. However, many people don’t like the obstruction it creates on the visibility of the outside of the home.
It is praised for being the simplest and most effective energy saving window treatment. Shades are a significant investment. You will just pull down to close and will roll back up when you want them open. When mounted firmly to the window shades will efficiently reduce heat gains by 40% in the summer. Shades come in a variety of options, but the most effective is a roller dual colored shade. On the side, that is the window using a heat reflective white and on the inside using a dark color for heat absorption is the best combination. When shades are closed, they can block a right amount of penetrating sunlight, and when opened can allow for airflow from an open window.
Last, but certainly not least, shutters have been used in and out of homes for decades. They’re an efficient way to reduce heat gains but do have additional requirements for installation. For interior installation, you will need to have a window that has a ledge or one that is countersunk into the wall. They are affixed to the sides of the framing wall for the window and can swing open or have their slats open and close. Shutters on the outside of the home is a little trickier to install. They must be integrated into the architecture of the house. So that proper draining or water can be achieved and that they work correctly.
Window treatments are a great addition to any home. They provide some benefits including heat reduction and improved appearance. Window treatments are a cost-effective way to help eliminate the sun heating your home in the summer, and absorbing heat when needed in winter. Which option is right for you? The choice comes down to personal taste and budget. You can certainly use more than one treatment in a home, so check out some of the options for energy saving window treatments and start saving money on your energy bills today!