Trying to practice energy efficiency at home can be a very tough challenge, especially if you don’t know where to start. With all the big words, such as HVAC, insulation, and energy retrofit, you might find the process intimidating. But think of it this way, you can help preserve the environment, save money, and create a healthier home environment, what could be better?
If you are overwhelmed by the number of options for energy efficiency, you can start with the basics- your windows. Old, drafty windows do not only make your house look bad, but they also waste a lot of energy and money. So stop throwing money out of your windows by accentuating them with the right treatments and covering. Doing so will not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home but also help you save on energy bills in the long run.
Window Treatment Options For Going Green
Window treatments are not only used for decoration, it can also be used to save energy. The right curtains, blinds, or shades can help retain around 10-30 percent heat lost through the windows. In fact, window treatments with the right materials and fit can keep your house cool during the summer season, or keep your house warm during wintertime.
Here are a few window treatment options to help you save energy costs in the long run.
This type of window treatment can help lower solar heat gain during the summer season by about 65% on windows facing the south, and around 77% for windows facing the west direction. You can choose awnings made from synthetic fibers, such as polyvinyl laminates or acrylic that can easily repel water and are resistant to mold and mildew. As a tip, you should choose window awnings that are tightly woven and opaque because a light-colored one will reflect more sunlight. During the winter season, you can roll up these adjustable or retractable awnings to let sunlight in your home.
2. Blackout Blinds
This is another option that is not only energy efficient, but also blocks out noise and light. There are blackout blinds which are made from high quality light blocking material and Velcro seal which can blackout a window effectively. This type of window blind is best used in bedrooms to create a sleep-conducive environment.
Blackout blinds are also advisable for those who work at night. You can use this window treatment to block out the sunlight and enjoy high quality sleep in the middle of the day. It can also be used to completely darken a room to create a home theater ambiance. On top of all these, this type of window treatment is also very energy efficient because it can help trap heat inside the house during the winter. It has been said that around 10-25% of thermal energy goes out the window, but blackout blinds can reduce this loss by about 25%, resulting to lower utility bills and reduced greenhouse gases. When buying blackout blinds, remember to avoid getting blinds with PVC- this is a substance with health risks associated with it.
Window shades are among the simplest and most popular window treatment options that promote energy efficiency. This type of window treatment can be mounted as close to the glass as possible. On sunlit windows, you can install the shades lower. Windows on the south side of the house should have window shades that are drawn higher during the day and lower during the night.
- Use bamboo shade and combine it with a cloth drape. This offers additional insulation and prevents air flow. Make sure that the drape used is properly fitted for excellent efficiency.
- Another perfect wall treatment that can keep the cold air out during the winter season is the roman shades.
- Lastly, the cellular shades can effectively trap cold air near the windows. The cells can trap air, but because they are opaque, a small amount of sunlight can still get inside the room.
These are just a few options for going green when it comes to your windows. These options will not only lower your energy costs but will also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home.
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Kris Lim is an interior design blogger and environmentalist. She tries to incorporate energy efficiency in her design tips to help her readers practice green living at home. She highly suggests using blackout blinds from reputable companies like blackoutblinds.biz because these window treatments are very energy efficient and can effectively block out noise and light.