Window Coverings Can Save Energy: Part 2

— Written By Trudy Pickett and last updated by

Last week we learned that window coverings can be chosen not only for interior decoration but also for saving energy. Careful selection of window coverings can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. The use of window shades and interior shutters can result in energy savings for the homeowner.

When properly installed, window shades can be one of the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy. Shades should be mounted as close to the window glass as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space. Lower shades on sunlit windows in the summer. Shades on the south side of a house should be raised in the winter during the day and lowered during the night.

For even greater energy efficiency, use dual shades—highly reflective (white) on one side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side—that can be reversed with the seasons. The reflective side should always face the warmest side: outward during the cooling season and inward during the heating season. They need to be drawn closed all day to be effective. Quilted roller shades, and some types of fabric Roman shades feature several layers of fiber batting and sealed edges. These shades act as both insulation and air barrier. They control air infiltration more effectively than other soft window treatments.
Several manufacturers have designed two- or three-cell pleated or cellular shades that have air spaces built in which increases their insulating value.

Window shutters can also help reduce heat gain and loss in your home. Interior shutters need a clear space to the side of the window when they’re opened. They also require hardware that is fastened to the window jams or trim. Like window blinds, louvered shutters work best for summer shading. Movable or fixed louvers allow ventilation and natural daylight to enter a room while blocking some direct radiation. However, they won’t provide much insulation against heat loss in the winter.

Solid, non-louvered shutters decrease both heat loss and summer heat gain. These insulating shutters consist of wood panels, a vapor barrier, and sometimes a decorative covering. If you fit them tightly against a window frame, they’ll provide an insulating air space between the shutter and the window. Shutters can also be combined with other window treatments, such as draperies, for greater insulating ability.

Use these tips for additional energy savings in your home. It all adds up to more dollars in your pocket!

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