January 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM
Sit by a bare window on a sunny day, and you’ll feel the sun’s warmth. Sit by that same window on a cold, windy night, and you’ll feel chilled to the bone. This winter is certainly testing our windows. With today’s economic concerns, smart homeowners are continually searching for ways to cut expenses and save on their monthly energy bills.
Naturally, the best place to start is to be sure our homes are well insulated. But all too often, while overall home insulation is a priority, windows seems to be neglected. No matter what your climate, bare windows are a primary spot for energy escape. In cold climates, heat naturally moves toward the cold to escape. And in warmer areas, outdoor heat moves toward the windows of our air conditioned homes.
Since windows make up 20% of a typical homes exterior, and 40 percent of contemporary home construction, numerous large uncovered windows can break your energy budget. This is especially true when these windows face a cold northern exposure in the winter or a sun-saturated west wall in summer.
It’s important to know that many window treatment products have actually been assigned an R-Value. Building materials are assigned R-Values according to each product’s ability to resist heat movement. The higher the R-Value, the better it insulates your home. Most windows have an R-value of 0.9 to 3.0, and can be responsible for 40 – 70% of heat or cold transfer for an entire home.
Using multiple layers at your windows, including cellular constructed treatments, can actually increase an R-value by 1 to nearly 5 points! So let’s look at a variety of window treatment options to help you create cozy room, and cut energy costs at the same time. What could be more perfect!
Duette® Honeycomb Shades: These soft, elegant looking shades actually increase energy values at the window by 25 to 175%, depending upon single, double, or triple thickness in the air-trapping construction. Available in nearly 300 colors, and a variety of styles, the R-value for Duette’s® can reach as high as 4.8 for the triple honeycomb shade. They’re durable, easy to clean, mildew resistant, and require little to no maintenance. With the introduction of Duette Architella, we can actually reduce the depth of the blind with their “pleat within a pleat” technology. Most of the Duette products will insulate, control heat, protect against UV rays, and help with sound absorbtion. Of course, they can also darken a room!
Vignette Shades: These beautiful shades feature the gentle look of a fine drapery, but are made of generously contoured folds of rich fabrics. They provide a 49% increase in window insulation value and can block 99% of UV light. They boast an R-value of 2.63 when closed over double-glazed glass, and are available in over a hundred fabric/color options. They are also available with the Architella feature, increasing their overall effectiveness.
Because there are numerous shade options available on the market today, here are three questions you should answer before making your specific product selection: Do you need special insulation protection? Which direction do most of your windows face – sun or shade? What treatment/product will work best with the rest of your room’s design direction?
Most importantly, talk to a professional decorator! They not only have a vast store of knowledge on which product would work best for your individual situation, but they’ll be able to add that all important decorative element to your overall window treatment design. Submitted by Cheryl Smith, Decorating Den Interiors, 973-701-0550, cherylsmith.decoratingden.com.