When people think about energy efficiency, their first thought is to change their windows. However, did you know that fitting energy-efficient shades and blinds is a more effective way to save your heating and cooling costs? If we explore this idea, energy-efficient window coverings are much cheaper than fitting replacement windows. They also give you the added advantages of easy installation, visual appeal, excellent energy efficiency, adjustable light, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In a country such as Canada, which is prone to extreme weather in some parts, saving energy costs is essential.
How do Energy-Efficient Blinds Work?
Energy-efficient blinds prevent heat loss from your building; they also block harmful UV rays and regulate the amount of light that enters the room. Energy-efficient blinds provide homeowners with numerous advantages such as:
● The Insulating Design. Energy-efficient blinds and shades often have a unique insulating design that helps retain warm air, thereby insulating the room. Cellular shades are an excellent example. They have honeycomb air pockets that prevent heat from escaping the room, thereby maintaining the temperature and reducing heating and cooling costs.
● Blackout Technology. Blackout technology refers to a foam-backed opaque fabric that blocks out light. It works by absorbing or deflecting incoming light while also preventing light from seeping out the room. Blackout technology can reduce up to 99% of sunlight from entering the room. Not only do they save energy costs by reducing the amount of heat that comes into the room, but they also help to create the right ambiance for movie nights and a better night’s sleep.
● Operable Design. Operable design means the blinds can be opened or closed. Recently Smart Home Automation has become increasingly popular. It is possible
to program the blinds to raise and lower at programmed times of the day. This flexibility enables you to respond to different temperature changes throughout the day. You don’t have to be at home to do any of this. You can keep your blinds lowered during the hot summer months and then raise them during the cooler periods.
● Energy Reflection and Absorbance Design. Some energy-efficient shades are designed with a powerful reflective and absorption design. A good example is the external solar shades mounted on the house’s outer walls to reflect light away from the walls before it heats the room.
Top 8 Shading Options and Blinds to Consider for Increased Energy Efficiency
With all the available information, it can be daunting picking the best energy-efficient shades and blinds. There is a variety of choices to make, but we’ll simplify it to six options:
These shades are energy efficient with a unique honeycomb design that keeps the room cool while blocking UV rays. These shades guarantee 25% HVAC savings and come in two styles, the single cell and double cell design. The double cell design provides an extra layer of insulation and works more efficiently than the single cell. The extra efficiency does cost more, however, so it all boils down to your budget.
● Great insulation
● Strong soundproofing qualities
● Increased privacy
● Slim design that is both functional and appealing.
● Shades can be more difficult to clean.
● It’s not possible to control the light entering the room.
Roman shade designs have always proved popular and adaptable in the home. These window treatments open like a roller shade and fold up as you raise them, thereby regulating the light you let through.
● Roman shades are affordable, even with the variety of fabric options available. They are still a good choice if you are on a budget.
● Roman shades come in versatile designs and can fit both traditional and modern homes.
● These shades are typically lightweight
● They can be challenging to maintain, especially because the shades get dirty pretty easily
● They won’t work well for kitchens and bathrooms because the fabrics stain easily and hold a lot of humidity.
Roller Solar Shades
Roller solar shades open like roller shades but are also designed to filter UVA and UVB rays. They are different from conventional roller shades that just block light but don’t stop UV rays.
● Roller Solar Shades enable you to control the amount of light coming into your room.
● Offer UV protection and energy efficiency
● They possess antiglare properties
● Unfortunately, Roller Solar Shades do not have blackout technology and offer limited privacy
Vertical blinds are elongated vertical louvres clipped onto a sliding track at the top and operated with a plastic wand or chain. Vertical blinds are designed to give you complete control of light and privacy.
● You can regulate the amount of incoming light.
● They frequently come with a blackout option that enables you to block out more light
● They are ideal for large windows
● They can be difficult to clean and maintain
● They do not come as the most energy efficient option
Shutters are hardwood window treatments consisting of a frame of vertical stiles and horizontal rails. They are attached to the sides of the windows permanently.
● Vinyl shutters are more durable and long-lasting in comparison to blinds
● They are easier to maintain
● These window treatments are attractive and add value to your home.
● Vinyl shutters have fewer styles and colours to choose from in comparison to other window treatment options
● The louvres can’t be raised completely
● They don’t completely block out light
Dual Shades would be the best choice if you are on a budget but still looking for ways to increase energy efficiency. A Dual Shade system comes with two kinds of window covers in one. The external layer of these shades filters the light and is made of high UV-safe material to remove light and provide homeowners with partial privacy while permitting an outside view. The inner layer serves as a light-blocking shade that completely eliminates the light. Use it if you want to get complete privacy.
● Perfect at blocking lights
● Highly energy efficiency
● Adds value and aesthetics
● Might not fit all the rooms and designs
Draperies are like thicker curtains, often sold in pairs. They come with fabric heavy enough to block light from outside and are usually long enough to reach the floor from the top of the windows. In summer, homeowners are able to prevent heat gain by 33% just by closing the draperies on windows; drapes will receive direct sunlight and eliminate unnecessary warmth. In winter, these window treatments usually reduce heat loss by up to 10%.
● High energy efficiency
● Complete privacy
● Aesthetic look
● Heavy material
● Possibility of them absorbing humidity and growing moulds
Combination Window Coverings
If you are after maximizing your energy efficiency by incorporating different window treatments, installing just one of them may not be enough. If that is your case, the popular approach is to layer window treatments on top of each other for extra insulation. The best and easiest way is to add drapes to inside-mounted cellular shades or shutters. This approach helps to save energy that leaks through your windows and adds to your home’s aesthetics.
Energy-Efficient Shades & Blinds – Prices Breakdown
Every Canadian homeowner strives to go with the most profitable offer on the market. But when choosing blinds, the situation is generally similar to windows – the cheapest (or the most expensive) does not mean the best. You should treat buying new shades or blinds as an investment that will help cut down on energy bills. Analyze all the pros and cons and choose based not only on your personal preferences but also on window treatments’ qualities, reviews and performance. To help you understand the market prices, here is the table with popular shades & blinds discussed above and their typical price if you want to install them for your windows. For more accurate prices, do not hesitate to contact your local supplier.
Which Option is Best for Me?
Your preferred window treatment is dependent on things such as your budget, the design of your home, the energy efficiency of your windows, and a few other things. Our preferred energy-efficient window treatment is the cellular shades because of their unique insulating design. However, most of the discussed options have special features that may make them appeal more. Make sure to consider all your personal preferences and consult the experts to pick the best window treatments to complement the interior of your house and increase the overall energy efficiency.
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