More Than Just Shade: How Blinds Improve your Home’s Energy Efficiency
The window covering industry provides a wide array of options for your home. Most of the time, your purchasing decision will come down to two main factors: decorative appeal and functionality. Decorative appeal can include general product design, material and texture options for a specific product, and color palette. Functionality encompasses characteristics like how the treatment is operated (manually, cordless, motorized), how the treatment performs on light control, and how energy efficient the treatment is. Today’s blog will focus on the last characteristic of functionality, energy efficiency.
Almost all consumers are interested in the energy efficiency of their homes. Some simply want to lower their energy bill. Others may appreciate the improvement in livability that energy efficient window coverings offer. Still others are conscious of their carbon footprint and want to contribute to reducing energy waste. Whatever the reason, here are some stats to show you what you are up against. According to Energy.gov, roughly 30% of a home’s heating energy escapes through windows and about 76% of sunlight that hits a standard double pane window ends up entering the window as heat. Choosing the right window covering and features will mean not only a more comfortable living space but also a lower energy bill.
Here are three window covering products that will increase the energy efficiency of your home.
- Honeycomb/Cellular Shades. Honeycomb or cellular shades offer the best insulation on average of all window covering options. This unique product is created by attaching two pleated shades which create a “cell” or “honeycomb” shape between each set of pleats. The cell acts as an air barrier of insulation between your window and your interior living space. This insulation characteristic is referred to as an R-value. Cellar shades have an R-value range of 2.0 to 5.0 depending on the type of material and size of the cell. This relatively higher R-value helps keep hot temperatures from getting in during warmer months and keeps warm air from getting out during colder months.
- Wood, Composite, or Vinyl Shutters. Shutters which can be made from wood, composite, or vinyl materials, also offer great energy efficiency due to their impressive R-value. Wood and composite shutters offer frames, styles, and louvers that are solid throughout an achieve an estimated R-value of 2.75. Vinyl shutters look like their wood and composite counterparts but mimic cellar shades in the fact that they are vinyl wrapped around an internal structure which creates a similar air pocket of insulation. R-values for vinyl shutters are typically around 3.15 making them a great option for energy efficient conscious consumers.
- Roller shades. Roller shades are also a good option for those who are concerned about energy efficiency. Different fabrics, colors, and weave types all impact the final R-value of these shades. The accepted range is between 1.3 and 1.8 with blackout fabrics performing the best.
What else can be done?
- Be Strategic. Choosing inherently energy efficient window coverings is a great place to start. Even better is being strategic about when you open and close them throughout the day. An example: Open window coverings when sunlight is hitting the window during colder months to capture heat. When the sun moves off of the window, close the window covering again to regain the insulation barrier. During warm months, window coverings should be closed whenever possible to keep the heat out.
- Automation. Automated window coverings are a great way to set and forget it with your energy efficiency strategy. 40% of all new window covering orders include automation and I would argue that yours should as well. Automated window coverings make it possible to set schedules for when you want your window coverings to open and close each day. This ensures you won’t forget to close the shades after the sunlight has dissipated in winter months. It also allows you to control your shades remotely if you forget to close or open them before leaving the house.
Now that you know the ins and outs of energy efficient window coverings and their benefits, you can confidently shop for the products that fit your home and needs! Your local and trusted Bumble Bee Blinds professional can assist you. To find a Bumble Bee Blinds location in your local area, click here.
Luke Schwartz is the Brand President of Bumble Bee Blinds. He and Stephen Vest, the owner of Bumble Bee Blinds’ founding location, come from families with more than 60 years of experience in the window covering industry. Each month, Luke shares this experience and perspective through informative blogs about the window covering industry to educate our customers about products, features, and questions to consider when buying window treatments. Regular readers hopefully won’t have to ask, “Where do I start?” when in the market for window coverings.