When choosing the ideal window treatment for their homes, most homeowners prioritise interior and exterior design over the material’s purpose. They choose something pleasant disregarding the fact whether the drapes or shades they’re buying can actually make significant changes in their homes.
Truth is, window treatments don’t just block intense daylight. If you place the correct window treatment at the right place, these small items can lower your monthly energy bills. But before that, you have to understand which of the most common window treatments can help you reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
Let’s start with the easiest, shall we?
Where to put it: You can use this type of window treatment anywhere, regardless of your home’s orientation. This means you can have uniform shades around the house and still cut the cost of your power bills.
How to properly use it: In order to maximise the shade’s ability to reduce heat gain and loss, you need to mount the shades closer to the glass.
Designer tip: When buying shades, choose the one with double layers of fabric, where one side is lighter than the other. This is called a seasonal shade. During the warmer months, face the lighter fabric on the window to reflect the heat. In the colder months, use the dark colour so your windows absorb the heat.
Where to put it: There are blinds made for indoor and outdoor use. Use white or near white coloured blinds inside the house. On the other hand, use dark coloured blinds outside. Use it in your window that receives the most amount of natural light the entire day.
How to properly use it: Lower the indoor blinds when the sun’s rays are too intense. This way, you block excessive solar radiation that passes through your windows. In areas that experience longer and harsher summers, exterior blinds function better than the interior blinds. These blinds block the sun’s rays before it touches the glass.
Designer tip: Integrate your exterior blinds with the architecture of your house. This way, your blinds won’t look like an awkward addition to your windows.
Where to put it: Drapes are flexible, hence you can put them anywhere in your home.
How to properly use it: Treat your draperies as an additional insulation for your windows. During summer, hang medium-coloured drapes with white plastic backing on windows that receive a lot of natural light. Close these drapes. Doing so can reduce your window’s heat gain by 33%. During the cold weather, you need to close all your draperies at night to avoid heat loss.
Similar to the shades, your drapes must be hung close to the windows. Let it fall to the floor. For best results, use two draperies as your window treatment. This creates a tighter air space between the glass and the curtain, helping you maintain the right temperature inside the house.
Designer tip: If your draperies move slightly for an unknown reason, it’s a sign that your windows are leaky. Have it fixed immediately.
Where to put it: You can put it in all your windows particularly on the side of the house where most of the natural light hits. It can block up to 65-77% of the sun’s rays from the outside which decreases the temperature inside your home,
How to properly use it: Awnings fit in areas which experience longer summers or a hotter weather. Our Perth architects recommend using opaque and tightly woven awnings. If possible, invest in retractable support so you can adjust it depending on your daily needs. Now that you have awnings that block the sun, you can leave the windows open to allow natural ventilation to happen.
Where to put it: It’s function is similar with a window awning but you’ll need the help from an architect or building designer with an experience in green building. Make sure that you’re working with a pro who knows the passive solar design that fits your local climate and your home’s location.
Where to put it: On the side of the house where natural light hits your large windows and glass doors.
How to properly use it: This material reflects more sunlight compared to how much it absorbs. Use it if the majority of your walls are made of glass. If you have windows in your garage, cover it with this silver film. It will make the temperature inside the garage cooler.
Where to put it: Mesh screens help reduce heat gain through diffusing the light that passes through the material. Mount the mesh screen on a sturdy exterior frame before using it as a window treatment.
Designer tip: Make sure it covers the entire window. Mesh screens still allow a controlled amount natural light to pass through.
Finding and using the right window treatments are just a little part of a green and sustainable building. If you really want to lower your energy bills for a longer period of time, check if your home follows the passive design or at least has the right insulation. These require professional help and a bigger budget.
If ever you’re not prepared for a green home renovation, you can still follow the given guide to window treatments first. Tell us what you think about it in the comments section below 🙂
Author bio: Charlene Ara Gonzales is a design writer from Superdraft Australia. Their team of architects are the leaders in residential design in the land down under. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.