Window treatments are often chosen solely based on style and design; however, they are one of the items in your home which can truly be appreciated for their function as well as their form. In addition to providing a beautiful look and appealing accent in a room, window treatments can also help lower your energy bill during the colder winter months.
When used properly, window treatments can not only minimize heat gain in the summer but also prevent excessive heat loss in the winter, thereby lowering both heating and cooling costs for your home. Utilizing motorized and automated features can mean that operating your curtains and blinds is easier than ever. You can also arrange for your window treatments to open and close on a schedule through your smart phone.
Below is an explanation of different window treatments and how they can be used to lower your energy bill.
Drapes are one of the more popular window treatments, due in part to their low cost and wide variety. Choosing the right fabric is key to energy savings. Thicker, lighter-colored fabrics keep out the cold and let in the sun during the winter months. These tend also to be great for privacy. Almost any color or design can be chosen to match the aesthetics of your room or even the exterior of your home.
Shades provide excellent insulation in both summer and winter months, while exterior shades protect your windows from the elements. Choose roller or cellular shades to create pockets of air against your windows, keeping the temperature stable. Shades also reduce glare and are ideal protection for privacy.
Sometimes referred to as louvered blinds, Venetian blinds keep homes comfortable year round. They can be hung horizontally or vertically and are great for reducing glare from the sunlight. While they don’t help with noise pollution, they do offer excellent privacy control and allow you to determine how much sun you’d like to let in. Additionally, they can prevent heat gain in the summer and help with heat loss in the winter months.
These tilted window extensions offer the best protection during the summer months. They provide shade to both the exterior and interior of your home, but offer little in the way of insulation. Awnings are ineffective for allowing in sunlight or providing privacy unless you purchase the retractable variety, which allow you more control in viewing the scenery.
Shutters can be internal or external and provide a custom look to your home. Exterior shutters used to be very common, but indoor shutters, particularly motorized and programmable ones, are growing in popularity. They reduce summer heat more than blinds and shades do and are often used in warm climates. Roller shutters, however, provide insulation and can be used to keep your home warm, even in the winter, in addition to protecting your windows against storm damage. Indoor shutters are available in hardwood, vinyl, and composite wood, and each provide unique benefits.
Window films are another option, particularly for rooms with large, full-length windows. Films work best when combined with other window treatments, such as cellular shades. They can reduce heat gain and provide ventilation. They offer light and glare control and can provide privacy if highly reflective. By themselves, window film is ineffective in providing energy savings.
Screens are available in fixed or roller styles and can be used inside or outside your home. Roller screens offer the benefit of increasing the amount of sunlight and expanding your view, plus they can be automated and programmable. Reflective screens keep out bugs in addition to lowering interior heat in the summer and trapping interior heat in the winter. Automated, retractable screens provide air flow at the touch of a button and offer protection from UV rays.
Mixing and Matching Window Treatments
One of the best ways to lower your energy bill using window treatments is to mix and match styles. Some people even change treatments depending on the season and what benefits they are seeking. A professional interior designer will be able to help you choose what is right for your home, window by window.