From shades to shutters, curtains to blinds, you can choose from many energy efficient window coverings for your home – which can lower your energy bills and add timeless style, too.
Windows are a big culprit when it comes to household energy usage. Seemingly innocent panes of glass can be responsible for significant movement of heat either into your home in summer or out of your home in winter – causing your heating and cooling costs to rise as a result.
Up to 10 times as much heat can be lost from a single pane of glass versus the same area of insulated wall1, with up to 87% of a home’s heat gained through windows in the summer months2. You only need to hold your hand up against a window on a cold winter’s day to feel how glacial it can get.
So what can you do about it? Aside from going around and replacing all of your windows with double-glazing and energy-efficient window frames – which will deliver results but may be beyond the budget – there are less expensive things you can do to minimise heat transfer … and the best part is that they look great, too.
Why is it important to use proper window coverings?
Without window coverings, it becomes much harder to regulate the temperature inside without an over-reliance on your heating or cooling system. A good way to stop the heat transfer that’s common in single-paned windows is with a well-fitted window covering. Depending on the type of window covering you choose, they can:
- Trap a layer of still air next to the window
- Minimise the movement of heat into or out of your home
- Provide shade against harsh sunlight (which also offers UV protection)
And then, of course, they also improve a room’s overall aesthetic and style.
Which window coverings are the most energy efficient?
The good news is that you’ve got plenty of options for energy efficient window coverings. There are different styles to suit different tastes, and their efficiency can depend on the climate, the location in the house (for example, east or west-facing windows versus north-facing) and how often the covering is used.
That said, some window coverings stand out as being very reliable in reducing heat transfer. Here are our top picks:
Snugly fitted blinds or shades
Honeycomb or cellular blinds are widely regarded as the most energy efficient window covering, as the individual cells running down these blinds trap the air and have a similar effect to a double-glazed window.
Blinds will reduce heat gain in summer by reflecting the heat back out the window, particularly if the external surface is white or close to white. In winter, if the blind is well-fitted (roman blinds are a great choice for this job), the space between the blind and window traps still air to prevent heat loss.
Thick or insulated energy efficient curtains
Heavy fabrics and new types of insulating materials do a great job of blanketing your windows. For curtains to be most effective, they should reach the floor and ideally be weighted to minimise movement of air; plus, a pelmet running along the top will help prevent heat transfer. You could install curtains in front of blinds for extra insulation.
These are a great option for homes that suffer through Australia’s harsh summer. They block UV rays, helping to protect your furniture and your energy bill whilst also letting the light in during the day.
When shutters are closed against the bitter cold or the searing heat, the air between the shutter and the window remains completely still, because there are no moving parts. This, and the fact that they are usually custom-made to fit perfectly within the window frame, makes them a very energy efficient option.
The final word
Windows can be responsible for heat loss and gain in your home, which can in turn have an effect on your energy bill. An investment in energy efficient window coverings could pay off, making your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter … and looking beautiful all year round.
- Reduce Heat Loss Through Windows | Sustainability Victoria https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/You-and-your-home/Building-and-renovating/Windows/Reduce-heat-loss-through-windows. Accessed 22/5/2019.
- Glazing | Your Home http://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/glazing. Accessed 22/5/2019.