Energy efficiency is the guiding mantra for many purchases we make these days. The rising energy prices, abutted by the growing concern around carbon footprint, has made us more conscious about our every day buying choices.
Companies all around the world are scrambling to find new, innovative ways of designing products that are both energy-efficient and sustainable. The world of window treatments is no different. Responding to the rising demands around window treatment solutions that provide optimum energy efficiency, the market is flooded with innovative products that reduce energy usage.
The trouble with this is we are now spoiled for choices when it comes to window treatment products. So how do you know which one is the most energy-efficient?
Do Blinds Save Energy?
Blinds are great for saving energy, but not all of them are built for this purpose. If energy-saving is high on your list of priorities, select blinds that are specifically built to save energy. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Cellular shades are best suited for the job. They are made of a series of cells like hollow structures that trap heat and form a formidable insulating layer against heat loss or gain.
However, the effectiveness of cellular shades depends on the pleat size, number and the layers of cell that makes up the shade. Double or triple-layered shades are more efficient when it comes to providing greater insulation.
Solar shades are made to filter light. They are made of materials that fine coated with elements that reflect light and heat, all the while creating a diffused glow inside the room. By cutting off glare and heat, solar shades reduce heat gain to a large extent. Solar shades come with different opacity options; the higher the opacity, the more energy it saves. The best part is that while solar shades block heat, you can still enjoy the natural light.
Blackout shades are made of thickly woven fabrics that barely let any light through. The thick material also prevents heat loss from the room. This blind is more effective in the summer than in the winter. It stops heat gain and also enhances insulation.
Do Shutters Save Energy?
Many users are now turning to shutters for a more permanent solution for saving energy. Albeit an expensive one, when compared to blinds, but shutters are more effective in preventing heat loss.
Interior plantation shutters are the best choice in this respect. They prevent heat loss during winter, and reduce heat gain from the sun, during summer. Their close fit to the window ensures that only a thin layer of wind remains between the shutter and the window. When shutters are closed, they trap in the heat and prevent the draughts to reach the interiors. It’s like having another layer of glazing on your windows. Exterior shutters are equally good in saving energy. Shutters can be made from faux wood, real wood, and PVC.
Shutters Vs Blinds
The primary difference between the two options is how they are mounted on the windows. Blinds hang from the headrails, fitted either inside or outside the window recess. This leaves a small gap between the fabric and the window, which is enough to let the heat go in or out.
Shutters, on the other hand, are fitted on the window frames. This makes it’s a more snug-fit, leaving a very little gap. For this reason, shutters provide a better cover, when compared to blinds. Shutters are also made of more heavy material, which allows more insulation.
Although blinds are much cheaper and are more versatile, shutters are definitely a better option for energy-efficiency. However, you must note that shutters are more efficient only when they are completely closed. Blinds can still let in light while providing some sort of insulation. Blinds come in more designs and patterns and can be styled with any décor. Shutters have a classy, slightly traditional look, which might not appeal to all palates.
Other Factors that Promote Energy Efficiency
When it comes to saving energy, our focus remains on turning off the heater, buying energy-efficient appliances and so on. But a lot can be achieved by simply closing and opening window blinds and shutters at the right time.
When to Keep them Open
To save energy, the best option is to make use of natural sources. On sunny winter days, keep the blinds or shutters open to let in as much sunshine and heat possible. This will keep your interiors warm and toasty, giving your heater a much-deserved break. In summer, open your blinds or shutters, as soon as the sun goes down. This will aid the room to lose heat and make the room cool down naturally.
When to Keep them Closed
Window blinds or shutters must be kept closed during daytime in summer, to prevent heat-gain. Similarly, in winter, pull down the shutters when the heater is working hard to heat the room. This will prevent unwanted heat-transfer, saving you a lot of money on your energy bills.
Reflective and Absorbent Layer
Blinds and shutters can be paired with a reflective layer that reflects back the heat toward the source. This feature can be very beneficial in cutting down energy usage. So, in winter, if you make the reflective face the room, it will reflect the heat back in. Similarly, an absorbent layer on the other side would absorb atmospheric heat and transfer it back into the room. This way, you can make your blinds or shutters work really hard to save yourself money.
The best energy-efficient solution is probably pairing two window treatments together, to get double protection and to get the best of both worlds. Try a combination of blinds with shutters, or shutters with curtains. Irrespective of the initial expenses, long-term energy saving solutions will ultimately save you big bucks over the years.