Did you know energy loss through windows is ten times greater than through walls? That’s right…..even with double pane glass, heat goes through windows, taking money out of your pocket. While you can’t stop all the heat transfer, you can slow it down or reduce it with energy efficient window treatments.
Along with thermal improvements or repairs to poorly performing windows, there are five design essentials to consider when planning your window coverings.
Restricting airflow at the top, bottom and sides of the window treatment is a key to saving energy. Close the top with a cornice or ceiling mount drapery, fitting the bottom close to the sill or floor and sides snugly to the window frame. This will trap dead air, containing heat in summer and cold in winter, cutting heat transfer by 25%. Center overlap stops 10% heat loss. Inside mounted (inside the window frame) treatments should be placed 1” from the glass to maximize energy efficiency.
Layered treatments trap dead air but effectiveness depends on number of layers. More folds, more trapped air. Lined is better than unlined; separate lining slightly better than attached. Think of dressing your windows like layering clothing on a cold day.
Direct sun in winter adds more heat than is lost so mount draperies to stack off the window to maximize sunlight. Use blinds, shades, or sheers to control the amount of sunlight penetrating the room and monitor throughout the day. When direct rays move, close the curtains or blinds in winter.
Think reflection, absorption, and conduction when choosing materials for window treatments. Tightly woven reflects better than loosely woven. Rough, fuzzy, and textured materials absorb. Metal reflects but also conducts heat. Use a combination of materials for best results.
The amount of sunlight reflected or absorbed is affected by color of the material – light reflects, dark absorbs. Light colored materials reflect 80% of the sunlight and should be placed closest to the glass.
If all of this makes your head spin when thinking about how to “dress” your windows, consult with a professional for advice or have them design your window treatments. Doing it right is worth the effort. When energy costs skyrocket, having energy efficient window treatments will give you some peace of mind. At least you’ll know you won’t be throwing money out the window!
Click on these links for more window treatment ideas: balloon shades, roller shades, roman shades, shutters, curtains and draperies, ways to hang curtains, window toppers, mini blinds, woven blinds, hardware, and window essentials.
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