Importance of Windows
A windowless house is unthinkable. It would be akin to a prison cell: dark, gloomy and depressing. Large wide windows, multiple windows and glass doors make a house beautiful, bright and sunny. They allow abundance of sunshine and air to fill you living space with warmth and freshness. Windows also allow you to get a glimpse of the outside world and to feast upon attractive views that your house may be overlook. Apart from functional importance, windows also help to add aesthetic appeal and value to the rooms and the house.
Windows & Their Challenges
While windows are indispensible, we cannot turn a blind eye to the challenges posed by bare windows. Sunshine and natural light are important for any house but too much of sunlight is not considered beneficial. They heat up the space and the harsh glares of the sun can cause irritation to eyes making it difficult to work and sleep. They also allow unfiltered access to harmful UV rays of the sun that can cause damage to health and furniture upon prolonged exposure. Bare windows are a threat to security and privacy of your house as they expose every inch of the interior to the outsiders. It not only jeopardises your privacy but can also threaten the safety of your family members.
Windows are extremely poor insulators. This means that windows allow heat loss through the glass panes during the winter months. When it is cold and chilly, you have your heaters to warm up the air inside the house. As warm air is light they can easily escape through the windows causing the heaters to overwork to keep the rooms warm and comfortable. This means greater energy consumption leading to high electricity bills every month. The opposite happens during summer. Warm air from outside can flow through the windows forcing your air conditioners to overwork to keep the house cool. Uncovered windows can make any space unliveable. Too much of outside light and sound will make it difficult to sleep. The temperature within will not be maintained and could give rise safety concerns as well. Windows need effective window treatment solutions that will help address these concerns.
Energy Efficient Window Treatments
Today we will talk about energy efficient window treatments. Temperature inside the house needs to be maintained at all times throughout the year irrespective of the weather conditions outside. This means that during the hot summer months, the inside of the house should remain cool and pleasant while during winter it should be warm and cosy. You may say that you have air conditioners and heaters to do this job for you and you are right. But we have to ensure that these appliances operate at highest efficiency and there is no wastage. We do this by ensuring that there are no leaks in the house through which energy loss can take place and as we have already seen, windows are the biggest cause of energy loss in the house.
There are a number of window treatments like blinds and shades that help to add an extra layer of insulation to the windows. They help to increase the R-value of the windows and prevent heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer. R-value is a rating of thermal resistance or the ability of heat to transfer through any object like a window. Windows have a poor R-value and it is our endeavour to increase this rating which will help enhance the insulating capabilities of the windows.
Features of Energy Efficient Window Treatments
Window treatments like cellular honeycomb shades, blackout shades, and thermal drapes help to add a comprehensive insulating layer to the windows. What should be the features to look out for in energy efficient window treatments?
Unique Insulating Design
Energy efficient window blinds and shades should be designed uniquely. A design that will help to trap air, keep the temperature controlled inside the room and provide insulation. Energy efficient window shades for summer are designed to control the solar heat, keep the radiant heat out of the windows and also block out UV rays. For example cellular honeycomb shades have special honeycombed cells that trap air inside creating a buffer between the room and the windows.
Energy efficient window treatments should come with blackout technology, particularly for the summer months. Blackout fabric or material gives you control over natural light coming into the house. Blackout blinds help to keep the heat out and prevents heat gain by blocking out light completely.
Ability to Keep Radiant Heat Out
The radiant heat of the sun finds easy access into the house through the glass windows which heats up the living space considerably during the summer months when the sun is the strongest. This can cause major energy loss and put tremendous pressure on your air conditioners. An energy efficient window treatment for the summers should be equipped to keep this radiant heat out. External solar shades are a fantastic example of this. There are mounted on the exterior side of the house and they help to send the solar heat back to its source before it can touch the windows. This reduces heat gain tremendously and helps to transform your homes into sun protected sanctuaries. If you have to go for interior shades, then ones with a reflective back surface work well.
The entire world is fast moving towards fully automated homes where everything can be operated from anywhere in the world from your Smart phones and tabs. Windows blinds and shades have also become automated which means that they can be integrated into the home automation system. This allows you to program the blinds to rise and lower at specific times of the day. This is an important feature that can prevent energy loss significantly. During winter you would want as much sunlight to enter your space and also keep it trapped. Programming your blinds to close as sun disappears will do this job beautifully even if you are not at home. Similarly, during the hot summer months you would want to keep your interiors cool and this is possible by keeping the heat and light out when the sun is at its peak. Program the blinds to keep them closed during the morning hours and open only when the sun goes down. This will allow light breeze to enter the space and the trapped heated air to escape as well. Automated opening and closing of the blinds will help to keep your homes comfortable and pleasant even when you are seated hundreds of miles away.
If you are looking for energy efficient window coverings for your house, double check for these features because they can greatly impact the performance of these shades.