Energy saving has never been more important. The cost of producing energy continues to rise, both from a financial point of view and with respect to the damage it causes to our eco-system. We have a responsibility to reduce our own consumption and there is no better place to start than in our own homes. We must consider the impact we are having on the planet and can no longer simply switch on the under-floor heating or run the air-conditioner to control the temperature in our buildings.
Finding Energy Saving Solutions
Nowadays it’s necessary for us all to identify the vulnerabilities in our homes that are costing us energy … and find clever solutions. A good place to start is with the windows. Glazing is highly inefficient when it comes to energy saving. In the winter most of the warmth in the house is lost through the windows and in the summer they are responsible for heat gain.
It can be difficult and expensive to make structural changes to your home to reduce this effect, but window treatments offer many solutions.
6 Window Treatments that help with Energy Saving
Awnings can reduce the amount of solar heat gain through a window by as much as 77%. The performance of an awning is influenced by the colour and material chosen. The colours most suitable for the reflection of sunlight are light colours, and the material most effective will have a tight weave. It is advisable to install a retractable awning so that in the winter you can let the light in and warm the room.
- External Shutters
External shutters can be as beautiful as they are functional. They offer protection from the weather and provide added security. With respect to energy saving, they can assist with the heating and cooling of your home. In the summer louvered shutters provide the best shielding from solar heat. They allow for ventilation and let in natural light. They are, however, not effective at keeping heat in during the winter. Solid shutters perform well in both summer and winter.
Well-designed and properly installed blinds create an effective insulating layer of air between the fabric of the blind and the window. They are one of the most effective window treatments when it comes to energy saving. Consider reversible blinds with a dark and a light side. In the winter the dark side should face outward to draw in warmth, and in the summer the light side should face outward to reflect the heat.
- Mesh Window Screens
It is possible to have mesh screens manufactured to the size of your window. They can be magnetic in order that they can be stuck on your metal window frames or custom clips can be installed to affix them. Mesh screens diffuse solar heat and they have a small effect on lowering the temperature in a room. They do not help with the retention of heat, however, and should be contemplated only for places with long, hot, summer months.
Curtains or drapes are one of the least expensive window treatment options and can make a big difference to the warmth of a room. Using colour in the same way you do with blinds, you can reflect warmth in or out of the room. If you combine several layers of material in the curtains, or even add an inner quilt, their efficiency is greatly increased.
Curtains that have been fitted properly are much more effective at retaining and reflecting heat as they limit the airflow between the window and curtain, creating an effective insulating layer. By installing a pelmet to box in the curtain rod and ensuring the curtain meets the floor, you can increase the energy saving quality of the curtains by as much as 25%.
- Reflective Window Film
Reflective film can be applied to the outside of your windows and can reflect as much as 80% of the solar energy that hits their surface. These can be used to great effect on windows that receive direct sun. They will of course also reflect this warmth away in the winter and can result in the loss of some natural light in the room. Before you install this product make sure that this product is suitable for the room in which you intend using it.
Just as you would insulate your roof, walls, geysers and hot water pipes with ISOTHERM, it pays to insulate your windows with effective window treatments. If you are about to begin with the construction of a new home, you are in the fortunate position of being able to include many energy saving features into your window design. An example is to build a wide overhang that will block the direct heat entering your home in the summer. It will also allow the lower angled winter sun to shine in the windows. Even in your current home however, by using some of these window treatments, you could make a big difference to your energy bill.