You don't need to replace all the windows in your home to improve their energy efficiency. Your choice of window covering is a much less expensive and invasive method to improve efficiency and reduce energy loss in your home. The following guide can help you make an informed decision on which window coverings are right for you.
Insulated window coverings help prevent thermal exchange between the outside and the inside of your home through the windows. The right coverings will keep cold temperatures out in winter, as well as the hot air in the summer. Insulated curtain panels are readily available in a variety of designs. There are decorative options that have a printed design on one side of the panel, as well as plain options that are meant to be used in conjunction with your favorite drapes. Another option is insulated cellular shades. These shades have a honeycomb design that traps a layer of insulating air between them.
Heat Prevention and Solar Gain
A major issue in summer, especially on walls with full sun exposure, is the radiant heat that comes through the windows. Although insulated curtains or shades help reduce it, they alone aren't typically completely effective. Opting for drapes, shades, or blinds that are white or light-colored on the outward-facing side will help reflect that heat away from your home. There are also specially made drapes that have a reflective material on the outside side to increase reflectivity. On the flip side, dark colors facing outward will aid in solar gain in winter by absorbing the sun's heat to help warm a room, even if the curtains are closed.
Although much of the focus on windows and energy efficiency is around heat gain or prevention, there is another important aspect to consider. With proper natural lighting, you won't need to use electric lights as much, which will reduce your energy usage. Cellular shades are a popular option for combining daylighting with insulation and heat prevention. If you opt for light-colored shades, then plenty of daylight can still filter through without compromising the shades' reflectivity or insulation abilities. Another option is to combine sheer curtains with insulating drapes. You can then open the drapes while still maintaining some insulation when you need to let more light into the room.
Contact a window covering supplier to learn more about your options when it comes to energy efficiency.