Sit by a bare window on a sunny day, and you’ll feel the sun’s warmth. Sit by that same window on a cold, windy night, and you’ll feel chilled to the bone! With today’s economic concerns, smart homeowners are continually searching for ways to cut expenses and save on their monthly energy bills.
Naturally, the best place to start is to be sure our homes are well insulated. But all too often, while overall home insulation is a priority, windows seems to be neglected. No matter what your climate, bare windows are a primary spot for energy escape. In cold climates, heat naturally moves toward the cold to escape. And in warmer areas, outdoor heat moves toward the windows of our air conditioned homes.
Since windows make up 20% of a typical homes exterior, and 40% of contemporary home construction, numerous large uncovered windows can break your energy budget. This is especially true when these windows face a cold northern exposure in the winter or a sun-saturated west wall in summer.
It’s important to know that many window treatment products have actually been assigned an R-Value. Building materials are assigned R-Values according to each product’s ability to resist heat movement. The higher the R-Value, the better it insulates your home. Most windows have an R-value of 0.9 to 3.0, and can be responsible for 40 – 70% of heat or cold transfer for an entire home.
Using multiple layers at your windows, including cellular constructed treatments, can actually increase an R-value by 1 to nearly 5 points!
So let’s look at a variety of window treatment options to help you create cozy room, and cut energy costs at the same time. What could be more perfect!
Let’s start with Drapery. You want to use drapery that is lined. This insulates the drapery and then insulates the windows. It’s amazing how just covering the windows will make the room warmer.
Duette® Honeycomb Shades: These soft, elegant looking shades actually increase energy values at the window by 25 to 175%, depending upon single, double, or triple thickness in the air-trapping construction. Available in nearly 300 colors, and a variety of styles, the R-value for Duette’s® can reach as high as 4.8 for the triple honeycomb shade. They’re durable, easy to clean, mildew resistant, and require little to no maintenance.
Vertical Blinds: Available in hundreds of colors, textures and embossed patterns, vertical blinds can increase window insulation by 37 to 123% AND block 95-99% of ultraviolet light. R-Values reach as high as 3.92 for vertical blinds when closed over double glazed glass.
Vignette Shades: These beautiful shades feature the gentle look of a fine drapery, but are made of generously contoured folds of rich fabrics. They provide a 49% increase in window insulation value and can block 99% of UV light. They boast an R-value of 2.63 when closed over double-glazed glass, and are available in over a hundred fabric/color options.
Because there are numerous shade options available on the market today, here are three questions you should answer before making your specific product selection: Do you need special insulation protection? Which direction does most of your windows face – sun or shade? What treatment/product will work best with the rest of your room’s design direction?
Most importantly, talk to a professional decorator! They not only have a vast store of knowledge on which product would work best for your individual situation, but they’ll be able to add that all important decorative element to your overall window treatment design.