Appropriate for Northeastern USA
Every article dealing with window treatments advises readers to plan, plan and plan before venturing into buying. As we all know, very often we find ourselves in possession of a panel without having made any plans for it. Summer is gradually sinking into fall in the northeastern climatic zone of the United States from West Virginia in the south to Maine in the north. The days are still warm and while browsing through store shelves or online you come across a beautiful sheer curtain having the right shade that will easily blend with the color scheme of the living room. Can you imagine not cashing in on the 25% discount that is being offered for the product?
Sheer materials offer a visual elegance along with adequate privacy and an unobstructed view. Far cheaper than most other window treatment options, sheers convey a bold visual impact to the décor. Adorning a bedroom or living room window with a view, sheer curtains are just the right window treatments to enjoy the wonderful, colorful visual treat that unfolds outdoors each fall from the comfort of a home. However, the word ‘sheer’ is exactly what it means – a very fine or diaphanous material. And ‘sheer’ by itself will not do for the north-east beyond mid-autumn when the temperature begins to dip, and the scenery outside takes on a stark and monochromatic character. Being poor thermal insulators, the utility value of sheers diminish in times of extreme heat and cold. In such circumstances multi-layering becomes a very effective solution:
• The sheer panel can form the inner layer retaining the poise and elegance that it contributed.
• Regular window treatments like heavy curtains, drapes, honeycomb blinds or shades with their energy efficient qualities can form the outer layer protecting the interiors from the extreme conditions of the outdoors
• Rather than the function that sheers perform when conditions were benign, the sheers take on a protective role, shielding the more expensive feature packed curtains, shades and blinds from winter interior moisture build-up, protecting accessories like upholstery, carpets and paintings from the sun’s UV radiation when the outer layers are drawn up, and the windows left bare to soak up the heat that the late autumn and winter sun bestows freely on all surfaces that the rays come in contact with.
Sheers Window Shades are used as an example here to highlight the advantages of using multi-layering as a technique for window treatments, especially in regions like northeastern USA with its beautiful spring season when the entire landscape is alive with sights and sounds followed by fall and its myriad colors and then the silence of frigid winter devoid of all color except white and grey.
The United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has documented an average annual increase of 2°F in summer and 4°F in winter since the 1970’s. Predictions expect hot summer days to worsen air pollution, especially in urban areas of the Northeast that currently face problems with smog. Inhabitants are likely to experience more days that fail to meet air quality standards, threaten the health of vulnerable people, including the very young, the elderly and those without access to air conditioning. Northeasterners are particularly at-risk since the region is not as well adapted to heat as warmer regions of the country. Northeastern cities are likely to experience some of the highest numbers of heat-related illnesses and deaths, compared with the rest of the nation.
House owners heeding to the observations and predictions of EPA will appreciate that they will have to brace themselves for
• Hotter summers
• Overall deterioration in air quality.
Considering multi-layering, rather than going in for a major makeover presents itself as the best option to protect the investment already made on window treatments and buttress the chinks that have been observed.
Considering that no window treatment type can satisfy every requirement multi-layering of window treatments provides an opportunity for installing treatments that complement each other to provide a year-round solution for every environmental eventuality. Every window treatment has advantages and disadvantages:
Blinds: Multi-layering a light filtering sheer blind with a honeycomb blind that is already fixed because of its insulating properties. On warm days, the honeycomb can be drawn up and the light filtering one can be adjusted to block sun rays, filter light and allow view. This can also be done on high pollution days and when the house is left unoccupied to convey the impression of occupation.
With the rising popularity of two-in-one SunUp SunDown blinds with a honeycomb / light filtering combination a blackout roller panel can be added if blackout is a necessity for an inmate.
If existing aluminum, faux wood or vinyl blinds are found inadequate, an external blind can be installed and aligned to compensate the inadequacies.
Shades: Multi-layering of shades is very similar to multi-layering curtains and drapes and can be achieved by introducing one with qualities that the installed one does not fully satisfy for all season comfort.
Conclusion: To Northeasterners, multi-layering offers great flexibility for window treatments in new buildings to achieve everything that one desires from window treatment. For homes with expensive existing window treatments, it offers an opportunity to take advantage of discounts and introduce desired features.