Image credit – Phifer.com Exterior Solar Shades
Shade Your Windows Efficiently.
It is an understood fact that windows and doors are a source of energy gain and loss, be it Arizona or Boston in the USA and Windsor or Tampa in Florida. So as residents, we really don’t have much of a choice than to take appropriate measures to improve the energy efficiency a home through its fenestration system.
Enjoy greater energy efficiency with better choices
The advantages of properly installed, energy star rated (for a given area) doors, windows, and skylights reduce the impact of using natural resources for heating and cooling systems are as follows:
• reduce energy consumption and save you money (up to 10% more than traditional fenestration systems).
• increase your comfort by maintaining a steady indoor temperature through the year
• reduce condensation compared to a conventional model
• Protect interior furnishings from fading or sun rot
Sources of Energy Loss
The simplest and most energy efficient way to maintain a steady indoor temperature is to shade windows, doors and skylights. Typically, windows account for nearly 50% of the workload to your HVAC system, more than roofs walls and attics combined! You can control the way the sun’s energy is allowed into your home by shading the fenestration, maximizing energy consumption, saving on cooling in the summer and utilizing ‘free’ heating in the winter.
Consider the shading coefficient of the types of window coverings available to you, in order to block the summer’s heat. The Shading Coefficient is nothing but the ability of a window covering/shading to reduce heat gain. A window covering with a shading coefficient of 0.4 will prevent about 60% of the heat gain, therefore, the lower the shading coefficient, the better the efficiency of a window cover.
External Shading like the Exterior Solar Shades from Graber that incorporates the technologically advanced solar fabric from Phifer is designed to deflect the sun’s rays before it can reach a window or door, and according to the US Housing and Urban Development, is said to be 7 times more efficient than using internal window shading. Made of rounded individual fibers that are a combination of PVC, fiberglass and cellulose, often given a tough metalized coating for extra durability and reflectance, they are best used on eastern, western and southern oriented windows. The exterior solar shades are equally useful in winter to keep the warmth in. The effectiveness of exterior solar shading depends on –
1. The Openness Factor indicates the tightness in the typical basket weave used in the construction of the solar fabrics and is referred to in percentages. The higher the percentage of openness, the more the light and heat that is allowed through. A variety of openness from 1-25% is available to span a variety of requirements.
2. The Color of the fabric plays an important role in the amount of light and heat a solar shade lets past. We all know that light colors reflect light and thereby heat while dark colors absorb it. When light colors reflect light, they also reflect a large amount of visible light, dulling the view through them, while the opposite is true of dark colors.
If the view of the exterior is an important consideration, opt for dark colors with a weave of not less than 5% so that more air flows through to keep interior surrounding more stable. For bright interiors where the view is not exciting, go for light colors that will dull the exterior view while providing cool interior temperatures.
External roller solar shades are also wonderful options to use in shading roof and window gardens, swimming pool areas and gazebos. The smoothly engineered headrail systems ensure that they are seamless fitted to the framework provided, controlled by cords or automation. Retractors are also built into these external roller shades so that they are protected from inclement weather.
These shading devices give residents a lot more control over the light and temperature they want to allow into a house, once the sun’s rays have penetrated the fenestration, and they can be equally effective when used with proper insulation and automation. On has a variety of drapes, shades and blinds to choose from, depending on window orientation and privacy requirements. One can get away with using sheers or Shangri-La shades on north or south facing windows while it would be sensible to use heavy drapes, cellular shades or blinds and shutters on east and west facing windows.
Today, innovative technology has equipped window shading with automation that makes them easy to control and maximize thermal control through the fenestration. Many shades like cellular shades and roller shades are often given a reflective coating that would efficiently deflect the sun’s heat back through the fenestration before it can cause any detrimental effects.
Choose Wisely the Window Shadings
One doesn’t really have to decide on shading room-by-room anymore. Options like the sun up sun down cellular shades and the dual roller shades offer a common solution to every room’s need. For example, one could use dual roller shades in living rooms and bedrooms for room brightening, room darkening and privacy all rolled into one. Or use the sun up sun down cellular shades for terrific insulation against both the heat and the cold, with blackout being a factor that can be deployed with either option. Either way, research your options carefully, even if you have a large budget, to maximize the energy-saving potential of the fenestration system in your house.