Having the best energy-efficient window treatments can make a huge dent in your power bill. Whether you’re trying to heat your home in the winter or cool it in the summer, making smart choices when it comes to your window coverings can save you money by lowering your energy bills all year round.
I want you to be able to choose the best window coverings to reduce home energy costs. So, let’s look at different types of window coverings available to you, how they can help, and give you options so you can decide which energy-efficient window covering is best for your home or office.
After all, your home is where you and your family spend the bulk of your quality time. Why not make your home more comfortable than anywhere else you spend time? So, it’s time to put on that home improvement hat, and let’s get started.
Understanding How Heat Escapes through Windows in the Winter
Imagine sitting on the couch in the winter and thinking, “I need something to cover up with.” At the end of the sofa, you have two options: a nice fleece throw and a knitted shawl with holes in it. Which are you going to choose? Probably the throw since you know that heat will escape through those holes in the shawl.
Your windows act like those holes in the shawl. While you may have a cozy house overall, those glass-covered holes in the building let the heat out. Let’s look at why.
- Conduction: Think of a metal spoon in hot soup — heat flows directly from warm to cold objects. In your home, warm air touches the cold glass pane, transferring its heat molecule by molecule.
- Convection: Picture a playful draft swirling around your ankles. As warm air near the window cools, it becomes denser and sinks. Cooler air rises to take its place, creating a continuous loop that siphons heat from your room.
- Radiation: Imagine the sun warming your skin — this is radiant heat. Your warm walls emit infrared waves, which are readily absorbed by the cold glass, chilling the air on the other side.
If you want to manage heat loss through interior windows, window coverings can help by making your home energy efficient. By keeping your living space comfortable naturally, you reduce the amount of energy you use.
You have a lot of wonderful options out there. I want to help you choose the best energy-efficient option to keep your home warm in the winter (and keep your home cool in the summer).
Cellular Shades: The Best Energy-Efficient Window Treatment
When it comes to energy-efficient window treatments, cellular shades — also known as honeycomb shades — are at the top of the list. These shades are designed with a series of honeycomb-like cell pockets that trap air, providing excellent insulation for your windows to reduce heat loss and reduce heat gain. The trapped air acts as a barrier, keeping the outside temperature from affecting the temperature inside your home. With cellular shades, you can say goodbye to drafts and hello to energy savings.
Cellular shades come in a variety of colors, which makes matching your home’s decor easy. They also offer options for corded or cordless operation. Cordless cellular shades are safer for children and pets and provide a neater and more streamlined look. Whether you choose an inside mount or an outside mount, you will find the best energy-efficient cellular shades offer both style and functionality.
There are different types of cellular shades. Let’s go through them to determine which will provide the best value for you.
Single Cell Window Shades: Budget-Friendly and Energy-Efficient Window Coverings
If you’re looking for an affordable option that still provides some energy efficiency, single-cell shades are a great choice. These shades have one layer of honeycomb material and work well in moderate climates where energy efficiency is not a top concern. Single-cell shades give you the flexibility to add other upgrades, such as top-down/bottom-up lifts, room darkening liners, or cordless or motorized controls, depending on your budget and preferences.
Double Cell Shades: Enhanced Insulation
For those who want to maximize energy efficiency, double-cell window shades are the way to go. With an additional layer of honeycomb fabric, these shades provide extra insulation, keeping your home comfortable year-round. Double-cell shades are available in a wide range of colors, fabric styles, and with additional upgrades for added convenience. They strike a perfect balance between energy efficiency and style.
Pleat Sizes: Finding the Perfect Fit
Cellular shades are made of pleated material. The size of the pleats in your cellular shades can have an impact on their energy-saving capabilities. Larger pleat sizes tend to trap more air, making them more energy efficient. Cellular shades are available in various pleat sizes, including 3/8-inch, 9/16-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch. Take into account window size when choosing the pleat size. Smaller pleats are ideal for smaller windows, while larger pleats are better suited for wider windows.
Drapes: An Elegant Type of Window Covering to Save Energy
When it comes to energy-efficient window treatments with a touch of elegance, drapes are the way to go. Drapes (also known as curtains) have been a classic choice for window coverings for centuries. They not only add style and sophistication to any room but also provide insulation and light control.
Drapes and curtains are most effective when mounted outside the window frame, creating a seal that prevents air leakage and reduces heat transfer. For maximum energy efficiency, choose drapes made from thicker fabrics and consider adding a thermal lining to enhance insulation. The color of your drapes or curtains can also make a difference, with medium-toned colors absorbing more light and heat.
Layering for Maximum Efficiency
To further enhance the energy efficiency of your drapes, consider layering them with other window treatments. For example, combining drapes with inside-mounted cellular shades or shutters can create a powerful barrier against heat loss or gain. Layering window treatments not only improves insulation but also adds depth and visual interest to your windows.
Shutters: Beauty and Functionality Combined
If you’re looking for a window covering that offers both beauty and functionality, shutters are an excellent choice. Shutters are solid window coverings made from materials like real wood, vinyl, or wood composite. Their thick construction traps air between the glass and the covering, providing insulation and reducing energy costs.
You can choose between interior shutters and exterior shutters, depending on your needs and preferences. Interior shutters fit snugly to your windows and have slats called louvers that can be adjusted to control the amount of light and heat entering your home. Exterior shutters, on the other hand, not only add curb appeal but also protect against extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
Plantation Shutters: The Southern Charm
One popular type of interior or exterior shutter is the plantation shutter. These shutters feature slanted louvers and are fitted to the window frame. They can be opened like doors, allowing you to control the amount of light and ventilation in your home. Plantation shutters are particularly popular in the American South, where their energy-efficient properties help keep homes cool in the hot summer months.
Awnings: Shade and Energy Savings
If excessive heat from the sun is a concern for your home, consider adding awnings to your windows and outdoor spaces. Window awnings provide shade and help reduce solar heat gain. This will keep your home cooler and reduce your reliance on air conditioning. They are particularly effective for south-facing windows, where the sun’s rays are the strongest.
When choosing awnings, opt for light-colored fabrics that block and reflect direct sunlight rather than absorb it. This will help maximize the energy-saving benefits of your awnings. Keep in mind that window awnings can reduce solar heat pouring into your house during the blistering summer, and they may need to be adjusted or retracted during the winter to allow that same sunlight in to warm your home.
Exterior Shades: Blocking the Heat Outdoors
If you want to take your energy efficiency efforts to the next level, consider adding exterior shades to your windows and outdoor spaces. These shades are made to block sunlight and prevent it from entering your home, reducing solar heat gain and keeping your interior temperatures comfortable.
Exterior shades are particularly effective for porches and outdoor living areas, where harsh sunlight can make the space uncomfortable. They not only provide shade but also filter out harmful UV rays, protecting your furniture and flooring from fading. Exterior shades keep heat from entering your home and can significantly lower your cooling costs.
Combination Window Coverings: The Power of Layering
To maximize energy efficiency and create a customized look for your windows, consider combining different types of window coverings for your home. Layering window treatments allows you to benefit from the unique properties of each treatment, creating a powerful barrier against heat loss or gain, and helping keep your home comfortable.
For example, you can pair inside-mounted cellular shades with drapes for enhanced insulation and light control. This combination not only improves energy efficiency but also adds visual interest and versatility to your windows. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different combinations to find the perfect balance of style and functionality for your home. Layering window treatments can help keep a room warmer just like wearing layers does in the winter.
Bonus Benefits of Energy-Efficient Window Coverings
While deciding which energy-efficient window treatment will work best for your home, remember that reduced heating and cooling costs are not the only way they will benefit you. Here are several other side effects of quality window coverings.
Reduced drafts: By sealing against gaps and leaks, energy-efficient window treatments effectively minimize cold drafts that can make your home feel uncomfortably chilly even when the thermostat is high.
Improved temperature control: These treatments act as a buffer, moderating the temperature swings caused by changing weather conditions. This leads to a happier indoor environment for the family year-round.
Reduced glare and sun fading: Many options offer light filtering and UV protection, mitigating harsh glare from direct sunlight and protecting furniture and flooring from fading. This creates a more visually pleasing and comfortable space.
Increased Home Value
Energy efficiency upgrades: Installing energy-efficient window treatments (as this article emphasizes) improves energy efficiency and keeps bills down, which is a sought-after feature for potential buyers that can increase your home’s value.
Modern aesthetics: Many of these treatments come in stylish designs and materials that enhance the visual appeal of your windows and the overall look of your home.
Reduced energy consumption: By minimizing heat loss and gain, energy-efficient window treatments help your HVAC system work less, lowering your energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Sustainable materials: Some options are made from recycled materials or sustainably sourced wood, contributing to a more eco-friendly home.
Improved Privacy and Security
Light control: Many options offer varying levels of light filtering or blackout abilities, allowing you to control privacy and visibility from outside your windows.
Added security: Certain types of window treatments, like thicker curtains or blinds, can act as a visual deterrent for potential intruders.
The Best Energy Efficient Window Treatments are at Your Fingertips to Make Your Home Heating Bills Affordable
Any homeowner is going to be concerned about their home’s energy efficiency. If you find the best energy-efficient window treatments, you will have a significant impact on your home’s comfort and energy consumption. Whether you opt for cellular shades, drapes, shutters, window films, awnings, or a combination of these treatments, you can improve the quality of living in your home while saving money on your energy bills.
Remember to consider factors such as insulation, light control, and aesthetics when selecting window treatments. By combining functionality with style, you can create a space that is not only energy-efficient but also visually appealing.
So don’t wait any longer—start exploring your options for energy-efficient window treatments and transform your home into an energy-efficient oasis today!