Now that Daylight Saving Time (DST) is close at hand, it’s time to think about how the right window treatments can increase the energy efficiency of your home. More light means more activities after work, but longer days and warmer weather also mean more light and heat coming into your home, and more energy spent to keep your home cool.
Air conditioning is blissful during the summer, but can also give you sticker shock when you see your bill. Fortunately, clever use of blinds, curtains, and other window treatments can help keep your house cool and your bills in check. If your window treatments aren’t energy efficient, you could lose as much as 50% of your home’s cooling energy through the windows.
Curtains and Drapes
Keep your curtains closed, especially on windows that receive direct sunlight. The type of fabric — open or closed weave — will affect the ability of your drapes to reduce heat gain. Drapes that are medium colored with white plastic backing can reduce the amount of heat that enters your home by approximately 33%. Hang the drapes as close to the window as you can. To get the most out of your drape’s heat blocking, install a cornice and seal the curtains at the sides and overlap them in the center.
Window shades are one of the most effective yet simplest ways to conserve energy. However, they need to be drawn all day to work. As with the drapes, make sure they are mounted as close to the glass as possible to create a sealed space. Roman shades with several layers of batting, and quilted shades act as an additional barrier and insulator, making them more effective than other soft window treatments.
When closed completely, blinds can reduce heat gain by about 45%. You can also adjust them to reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling, diffusing the light without very much heat gain or glare.
Tips for Saving Energy at the Window
1. Make sure your doors and windows are properly weather-stripped.
2. Keep windows locked when running the air conditioner to ensure that they are closed tightly.
3. Keep your window coverings closed during summer days to keep the heat out.
In addition, properly maintaining your air conditioner will help it run more efficiently.
You Can Control Solar Heat with Window Treatments
The warm spring and summer days, combined with the extra daylight afforded by DST, are a cause for celebration for many. More time for activities in the evenings and longer summer days to spend at the beach or poolside.
However, it also means more energy (and cost) spent keeping your house cool. With window treatments designed to reduce the amount of solar heat that comes through your windows, you can protect your home from the sun’s heat.
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