Throughout the life of our business, we have witnessed our customers express more and more concern about how windows can affect energy efficiency. The truth is, windows play a huge role in the overall energy efficiency of one’s household, and this can have a dramatic effect on your monthly energy bill. For example, did you know that 50% of your heating costs is wasted on heat seeping out of your windows? Or for example, that 10% to 25% of your electric bill is accounted for from your windows alone. This means, that if it costs $1000 to heat a home during a cold season, $225 of that $1000 is literally seeping out the windows! By this logic, it’s no wonder that many consumers today rightfully feel that investing in state of the art energy efficient windows will literally pay for themselves and save them thousands in the long run.
Since our climate here in Ventura County stays pretty stable throughout the year, there is no need for extreme measures to be taken with regards to windows. But there are some simple tips about energy saving window treatments that the U.S. Department of Energy recommends, and we wanted to share this information with our customers.
Window Treatment to Cool Your Home
First of all, during the hotter seasons, it’s best to install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from your home. Remember, darker colors absorb heat, and lighter colors reflect heat. Haven’t you ever noticed how hotels usually have white curtains along windows? That’s because with hundreds of rooms to keep cool, it’s important that costs are kept as low as possible, and needless to say, hotels save thousands of dollars on cooling costs with this simple tip.
On the same note, it’s also smart to always close curtains on the south and west facing windows during the day. This is obviously because the sun will be shining into these windows more directly during the day, and thus by obstructing them with curtains or drapes, you are eliminating excess heat from entering your home, and diminishing your need to blast the air conditioner. If you wanted to take this a step further, you can install sun-control or other reflective films on the south facing windows to reduce solar gain.
Another great tip for reducing excessive heat from accumulating in our homes is by installing awnings. This is an often overlooked strategy, but by installing an awning on the south and west facing windows of a home, you can significantly decrease the heat spilling into your home. Now, if you combine this strategy with all the others mentioned above, you can really do wonders to tackle the heat and keep your home cool in the summer months. Please also keep in mind that if these strategies are still not enough for your particular climate, there are specially made windows with spectrally selective coatings which work even more aggressively to reflect unwanted sunlight. And as people become more and more concerned about reducing their “carbon footprint,” these spectrally treated windows have become more popular in recent times.
Window Treatment Works in Cool Weather, Too!
Now let’s talk about the other side of the thermostat: keeping homes warm in the colder seasons. And just like in the warmer months, windows play a significant role in maintaining or affecting the climate of one’s home. One of the most common buzz-words in this area is “double-pane” windows. These have become almost household in recent times, and essentially what they do is trap heat inside and prevents it from escaping. You can use your thermostat less since the heat from your heater or fireplace will not get lost on cold windows. Double pane windows essentially shield the cold elements on the outside (one pane) from the heated home on the inside (another pane), and thus the appeal of “double pane” or “duel pane” windows.
Another tip to keep our homes warm in the cold seasons is to make sure we install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty. This is a simple tip but incredibly effective and often overlooked. A small draft along a window or even under a door seal can significantly affect the warmth of a room and cause your energy bills to slowly rise.
Now just as we discussed, the windows on the south and west side of a home have a lot of potential to affect the overall temperature of a home. And just as it’s important to keep windows on the south and west side of a home curtained during the day in warmer weather, doing opposite in colder weather will help to keep homes warm. By keeping windows unobstructed by curtains, you can ensure that any sunshine entering your home will help keep temperatures warm and stable. Likewise, by closing your curtains and shades at night, you can thwart the frigid night air from wreaking too much havoc on your thermostat.
How to Properly “Outfit” A Window Treatment
Now having spoken much about window shades and curtains in this article so far, let me just share with you the differences between blinds, shutters and shades, as these will certainly play a significant role in keeping your home energy efficient. First on the list are cell shades. These are sort of like a cross between curtains and blinds. “Cell” describes each visible side pocket on a honeycomb shade. The more cells there are, the more energy efficient the shade. Cell shades are used almost exclusively interior.
Next are wood blinds. Wood blinds can either be horizontal or vertical slat style and are a very common option for home owners. It should be noted, however, that wood blinds are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss, therefore if you live in a place where you’d rather be cool than warm, you’d might want to consider wood shutters.
Wood shutters are a great energy efficient window treatment option because they can be applied both internally and externally. Wood shutters will decrease both heat loss and summer heat gain, meaning they are all around efficient at keeping temperatures inside a home at a stable level. These insulating shutters consist of wood panels, a vapor barrier and sometimes a decorative covering.
The Effects of Window Treatment Can Be Synergistic
All in all, there are certainly some cost effective measures to reduce your electric bill and keep your home at a stable temperature all year. Please keep in mind that if you combine these strategies, the effects will be synergistic. That is, if you use spectrally coated windows, and also install awnings around your windows, the effects will compound and the results will be incredible at maintaining a stable climate in your home and of course, keeping your energy bills as low as possible.
We at Glass City are excited to share these strategies with you and have much experience with all the above window treatments discussed in this article. Now, we can’t pick out curtains for your home, but we are most certainly well able to spectrally treat your windows to keep out the sunlight, and to install double pane windows to keep homes warm in the winter time. We really do hope you’d consider us for all your window needs, and for all things glass! Also, please check out this great website for plenty of additional information on this top.