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Energy Efficient Options

In this day and age with energy efficiency and “green” construction being at the forefront many peoples mind, we at Blind Brothers thought we might be of some service in this area.

Awnings? Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house.

Most awnings have typically been made of metal or canvas, which need to be re-covered every five to seven years. Modern awnings are now made from synthetic fabrics—such as acrylic and vinyl laminates—that are waterproof and treated so they won’t fade. Which ever style, you should choose one that blocks out the sun completely. Lighter-colored awnings reflect more sunlight.

A horizontal awning does not have to large to completely shade a south-facing window during the summer. An east- or west-facing window awning, however needs to extend down to cover for the afternoon or morning sun. Sideless awnings, also known as Venetian awnings, are adjustable to change when the angle of the sun changes. Hip awnings project out and down to accommodate windows that open outward.

Adjustable or retractable awnings roll up to allow the sun to warm the house in the colder months. New hardware, such as lateral arms, makes the rolling up process quite easy.

Draperies? A drapery’s ability to mitigate heat loss and gain is dependent on several factors, especially fabric type and color. With such a wide variety of styles available, it’s hard to generalize about their energy efficiencies. In the summer during the day, it makes sense to close draperies on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. For Example, medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings have been found to reduce heat gains by 33%. Draperies also stay cooler in the summer than some window treatments because their folds and pleats lose heat via convection.

When closed during frigid weather, most draperies can reduce heat loss from a heated room up to 10%. Therefore, in winter, it can be beneficial to close all draperies at night, as well as draperies that don’t receive sunlight during the day.

For optimum energy efficiency, draperies ought to be hung as close to windows as possible. They should also fall all the way to the windowsill or floor. In addition, you should install a valance at the top of a drapery or run the drapery all the way to the ceiling. By overlapping it in the center, and using velcro or magnetic tape to attach drapes to the wall at the sides and bottom, you can reduce heat loss up to 25%.

Blinds? As a rule blinds are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss.? Interior Blinds?Because of the numerous openings between the slats, and the nature of the construction it’s difficult to control heat loss with window blinds, however, the slats can help in the summer. The slats can be used to control light and ventilation. It is estimated, when firmly closed and lowered on a sunny window, good quality reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by about 45%. They can also be adjusted to redirect sunlight up to a light-colored ceiling. This will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.?Exterior Blinds?Exterior blinds are usually made of steel, wood, vinyl or aluminum. They’re mounted above the window. The blind is channeled in a guide to be lowered and raised. When you lower these blinds, their slats meet and provide shade. If partially raised, the blinds allow some air and light to enter through windows.

Shades? When properly installed, window shades can be one of the most energy efficient window treatments out there.?Shades need to be mounted as close to the glass as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space. You should lower shades on sunlit windows in the summer. Shades on the sunny side of a house should be raised in the winter during the day, then lowered at night.?To achieve greater efficiencies, use dual shades, white on one side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side. Some manufacturers make them so they can be reversed with the seasons. The reflective side should always face the warmest side: inside in the winter and outside in the summer?Quilted roller shades, and some types of Roman shades, have several layers of batting and sealed edges. These act as an insulating factors and air barriers. They control air infiltration more effectively than other soft window treatments.

Pleated or Cellular Shades? There are now available two- or three-cell pleated or cellular shades with dead air spaces, which helps their insulating value. These shades, however, only have minimal control of air infiltration.

Solar shades? Mesh window screens can reduce heat gain in the summer. Screens should be mounted in an exterior frame and should cover entire windows. They are most effective on west facing windows.

Shutters? Interior and exterior shutters can help reduce heat gain and loss in your home.?Interior shutters need free space on the side of the window to open. Well designed exterior shutters could provide one of the best possible window insulation system.

There advantages are:
• Weather protection
• Added security
• No use of interior space
• No wind shock to windows if left closed

Exterior shutters are best installed during the initial construction phase of your home.?Some external shutter systems include a mechanical aspect to allow operation from indoors. This makes them easy to use and more likely to be used?Like window blinds shutters with slats work best for shading in the warmer months. Movable or fixed louvers allow ventilation and natural daylight to enter a room while blocking some direct radiation. However, they won’t provide much insulation against heat loss in the winter.?Solid shutters have the effect of decreasing heat loss and heat gain. These insulating shutters consist of wood panels, a vapor barrier and sometimes a decorative covering. If you fit them tightly against a window frame, they’ll provide an insulating air space between the shutter and the window.?You can combine shutters with other window treatments, for greater insulating ability.