Need a Window Treatment for Your Home?

Photo: Graber

Photo: Graber

  • How will the space be used? For working, relaxation, or entertaining? Formal or informal activities? This will help define the ideal design style for your window treatments.
  • Will you be working with electronic screens in the room, including televisions, computer monitors, or other devices that are sensitive to glare?
  • Are there children or pets in your home? If so, look for window coverings with safety features (such as motorized lift and cordless lift), in materials that are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Is privacy a primary concern? This is a key consideration for bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • What is the window’s exposure? If your windows have a southern or western exposure, the room could fluctuate greatly in temperature. Direct sunlight can also bleach textiles unevenly.
  • How much light control do you need? For maximum shading at your fingertips, consider horizontal or vertical blinds. You can easily redirect the light or change the complexion of a room by rotating or tilting the slats or louvers.
  • Do you want to maintain a view? Consider the bottom up/top down option, available on cellular, Roman, pleated, and natural shades. This allows you to lower the shade from the top to let in natural light while retaining the desired view.
  • Do you open the windows frequently? Do you need easy access for cleaning? Before choosing a product, always consider the function of the window as well as the design. If you are opening and closing the window often, you may wish to consider a lighter blind or shade.
  • Are there unique architectural elements in the room? Consider window cranks, window air conditioners, baseboard heaters, light switches, wall sockets, crown moldings, beams, and chair rails, as you plan the size and scale of your window treatments.

Source: Graber

Use Window Treatments to Save Energy

Photo: HunterDouglas

Photo: HunterDouglas

Interior Blinds

Because of the numerous openings between the slats, it’s difficult to control heat loss through interior window blinds, but the slats offer flexibility in the summer. Unlike shades, you can adjust the slats to control light and ventilation. For example, when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45 percent. They can also be adjusted to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling. A light-colored ceiling will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.

Shades

When properly installed, window shades can be one of the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy.

Shades should be mounted as close to the glass as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space. You should lower shades on sunlit windows in the summer. Shades on the south side of a house should be raised in the winter during the day, then lowered during the night.

For greater efficiency, use dual shades—highly reflective (white) on one side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side—that can be reversed with the seasons. The reflective surface should always face the warmest side—outward during the cooling season and inward during the heating season, and they need to be drawn all day to be effective.

Quilted roller shades and some types of Roman shades feature several layers of fiber batting and sealed edges. These shades act as both insulation and air barrier, and control air infiltration more effectively than other soft window treatments.

Pleated or Cellular Shades

Several manufacturers have designed two- or three-cell pleated or cellular shades with dead air spaces, which increase their insulating value. These shades, however, provide only slight control of air infiltration.

Shutters

Window shutters—both interior and exterior—can help reduce heat gain and loss in your home.

Interior shutters need a clear space to the side of the window when they’re opened. They also require hardware that is fastened to the window jams or trim. Properly designed exterior shutters may provide the best possible window insulation system. They offer several advantages:

•Weather protection

•Added security

•No use of interior space

•No thermal shock to windows if left closed.

Like window blinds, louvered shutters work best for summer shading. Movable or fixed louvers allow ventilation and natural daylight to enter a room while blocking some direct radiation. However, they won’t provide much insulation against heat loss in the winter.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy