When it comes to the energy efficiency of your home, windows are key. Drafty single-pane windows can cost you hundreds of dollars a year in increased energy bills, while energy efficient double-pane windows can save you just as much.
We talk a lot about windows in our business and on our blog: we’ve covered everything from how windows can increase your home’s energy efficiency to how to choose the best energy efficient windows for your home.
Today, we’ll talk about an often-overlooked part of a window’s energy efficiency: window treatments.
Why Should You Use Energy Efficient Window Treatments?
While window treatments won’t replace energy efficient windows in terms of efficiency and savings, they are a definite help.
If your budget is currently tight, window treatments can help you increase your home’s energy efficiency until you are able to replace your old windows.
On the other hand, if you already have energy efficient windows, window treatments will allow you to maximize your home’s efficiency and save even more.
Depending on the type of window treatment, you can control the amount of light, heat, and air flow coming in to your home. Keep reading to find out what each type of window treatment can do for you.
Which Window Treatment Do You Need?
There’s so much more to window treatments than aesthetics and measurements. When choosing a window treatment for your windows, you need to consider a few factors:
- The orientation of the windows
- The amount of light and heat that typically enters in each season
Kentucky is in the northern hemisphere, which means that the south-facing side of the homes here gets the most intense light. Our state has hot summers and fairly cold winters.
This means that you should pay particular attention to the south-facing windows in your home. For the summer, you’ll want window treatments that block excess light and heat to keep the room cool. For the winter, you’ll want window treatments that keep heat inside. (This will take some of the work away from your heating and air conditioning units, saving you money.)
So what does this mean for your window treatments? Let’s look at a few kinds and how they can help.
Curtains are a good choice for Kentucky homeowners, as they can prevent heat gain in the summer and heat gain in the winter. (Not all curtains are created equal, however: the curtain’s energy efficiency depends on the fabric weight and color.)
According to the EPA, curtains can reduce heat loss in the winter by up to 10 percent and reduce heat gain in the summer by up to 33 percent. The curtains should be drawn during the day in the summer and at night in the winter.
To maximize the curtains’ effectiveness, make sure to hang them as close to the windows as possible. The curtains should reach the windowsill or floor and should also be placed at the ceiling if possible. In the winter, consider using tape to seal the curtains: this can reduce heat loss by up to 25 percent.
Blinds are a great option to reduce summer heat gain; however, they don’t work well to reduce heat loss in the winter. Completely closed and lowered blinds, according to the EPA, can decrease heat gain by 45 percent.
Awnings are most useful in the summer, when they block light and heat from the overhead sun. You can buy an awning to cover one window or have one custom-made to cover the entire side of your house. Of all the options, awnings are the most effective at reducing solar heat gain in the summer (65 percent).
Consider a retractable awning, which will allow the sun to warm your house in the winter.
Shades are a great, simple option for both summer and winter. Like curtains, shades should be lowered during the day in the summer and at night in the winter.
Dual shades are the best version: they have a light, reflective side and a dark side that is reversible—allowing you to use them year-round. The reflective side should face the warmth: in the summer, it will face outward, and in the winter, it will face inward.
Even humble window screens can help with energy efficiency. Window screens diffuse the solar radiation entering through a window, reducing the amount of heat coming inside. They are especially useful in east and west-facing windows.
Stay tuned for more information and advice on our blog. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to make your home beautiful and energy efficient.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your windows, call one of our residential window experts. We’d be happy to answer your questions and provide a free quote.