Yes, it’s true. There are window treatments that have the ability to keep your home cooler and save energy. Having a bright and sunny home is truly an asset but in the Summer months the same sunshine can generate too much warmth.
When the sun’s energy hits your windows, it heats the home’s interior in two primary ways: conduction and radiation. Conduction occurs when the sun’s heat warms the window glass, and the glass warms the air around the window. In addition, radiant heat, is caused by sunlight striking objects in the room; anything the light touches will warm up regardless of the outdoor temperature.
Solar energy warming your home is called “solar heat gain.” This increases your energy costs in the summer by forcing you to run your air conditioning or fans more often. Reducing solar heat gain involves blocking light and/or insulating the room from the sun’s heat. That doesn’t mean you need to live in the dark or completely give up your views of the outdoors to stay cool, however. Flexibility with energy-saving window covers will let you enjoy the view, sunshine, and cool breezes when you’d like while blocking heat and harsh UV rays that fade fabrics, carpet, and other materials in your home.
1. Plantation Shutters
Plantation shutters sit right inside the window frame to block the window completely when closed. They’re made of solid materials, including wood, faux wood, and vinyl. Because they’re made of thick materials, they can help trap hot air between the glass and the shutters to keep the heat from entering your room. The slats or louvers can close completely to block hot, direct sunlight during the summer heat, which also helps you feel cooler.
2. Insulated Cellular Shades
Cellular shades have lots of vertically stacked air pockets, called cells, that create an insulating effect. Installing cellular shades is a way to block harsh sunlight in the summer, but they also help add a little insulation in the winter on drafty windows that let in cold air. In cooler months, the pockets hold warmer air in your home, and in the summer, they hold cooler, air-conditioned air in your room.
3. Solar Window Shades
Roller shades are simple window coverings that roll up and down around a tube at the top of the window. One specific type is the solar shade which is designed to block UV rays. They’re made of a tightly woven mesh material designed to shield your interior from UV rays. Even with the solar shades closed, you still get some brightness in the room and can see the views outside your home.
Solar Shades are available at different “levels” that speak to SUV and light protection. On the low end, up to about 5 percent, you get the most privacy and greatest protection from UV rays and heat, but you can’t see much through the shades. Medium openness levels range from about 7 to 10 percent, giving you a little more of a view while still protecting against UV rays. The highest openness levels, up to 14 percent, give you the best views, but they’re mostly used for glare reduction and not for blocking a lot of the heat and UV rays.
Light-colored solar shades are best for heat control because they help reflect the light away from your windows. Dark-colored shades are better to control glare.
4. Louvered Window Blinds
Louvered window blinds include all types of blinds that have slats you can adjust. While they don’t control heat loss as much as other window treatments, they do give you control over direct sunlight entering the home and can reduce glare. Reflective blinds can help on hot, sunny days by reflecting the sun’s rays and cutting down on heat transferring into your home through the windows. Since you can adjust the slats to different angles, you have more control over how much light enters the room.
5. Curtains and Drapes
Curtains and drapery can help block the heat from sunlight while providing a layer of insulation. Fabric selection affects how well your drapes or curtains control heat. Light-colored fabrics help reflect light, which can keep your home cooler, while darker colors hold heat inside your home, which can be helpful to keep your home warmer in the winter. If you want dark-colored curtains to match your room, choose drapery with a light-colored lining to help reflect the light.
Fabrics with a tight weave are also better at reducing heat transfer, which can keep your room cooler. Lightweight fabrics with a looser weave don’t do much to beat the heat. Sheer and semisheer curtains are examples of window coverings that don’t provide much cooling power. Room-darkening and blackout curtains offer the best heat control in your room because they’re lined and have a tight weave.
6. Roman Shades
Roman Shades are another great option. These fabric window coverings stack up in even folds as you open them, and you can raise or lower the shades to the precise level you desire. When Roman Shades are closed, the fabric blocks direct sunlight from entering the room, which keeps your home cooler in the summer. Roman shades made of heavy fabric can offer some insulation, which slows the heat transfer to the room.
7. Layered Window Coverings
By layering multiple window treatments you can keep your home cooler while having more flexibility. You can pair multiple coverings that have varying levels of sun protection, which can double up on keeping your space cool. Layering also lets you adjust light levels and heat control throughout the day. For example, with sheers and heavy drapery, you can open the drapes early so the morning sunlight filters through the sheers. In the afternoon heat, you can close the drapes to block the UV rays.
We would love to discuss any of these options with you in greater detail. Contact High Country Drapery Designs today to learn more.