Curtains and blinds help to insulate your home, reduce energy bills and maintain the comfort level.
Building big windows and using lots of glass in home design is both economical and attractive. Glass brings the outside world in. It provides light, fresh air and ambience and is always the central focus of any room. The problem is that the heating you use in cold weather escapes very quickly through glass, and outside heat is drawn into your home through glass in hot weather. In a typically insulated house, 40 per cent of generated energy is lost through the windows. This amounts to hundreds of dollars wasted on heating and cooling your home.
Improving the thermal efficiency of existing windows
With growing energy costs and the social and environmental impact of climate change, modern window treatments need to be practical as well as attractive. While significant savings can be made when building a new home with clever design and informed product choice, there are simple steps that can be taken to improve existing windows.
Technological advances in window treatments have resulted in excellent products like window film, secondary glazing and reflective blinds that are installed on the inside of your existing windows to minimise heat transfer. Used in combination with curtains or blinds, these products dramatically cut down the rate of energy loss.
Curtains and pelmets
Classic curtains are currently enjoying a comeback. Heavily lined drapes fitted snugly on both sides of the window with a boxed pelmet provide the most effective insulation. This stops warm air from moving behind the curtain and cooling down when contacting the cold glass. Reflective linings give extra summer protection.
Panel curtains are often coordinated with blinds. They have a multiple tracking system that allows flat panels of material to slide across the window or door. These drapes work particularly well in contemporary homes and are ideal for large areas of glass.
Honeycomb blinds have a unique three dimensional cell construction that traps air in the cells, making them ideal for insulation purposes. The top and the bottom of the blind can be operated independently, so that the top can remain open for light without compromising privacy.
Sunscreen blinds also provide significant insulation. They allow shaded vision without blocking your view, reduce glare and UV rays and allow complete daytime privacy.
Functional and economical, roller/Holland blinds are made from tough fabric or PVC that rolls onto and off a tube when raised or lowered. Double roller blinds, one transparent and the other block out, provide even greater insulating and light adjusting properties.
Roman blinds use soft fabric that folds into pleats when raised. They have the advantage of utilising any curtain fabric, making them versatile. When using block out fabric and fitted tightly, they also make good insulators.
Venetian and vertical blinds
Venetian and vertical blinds, while providing lesser insulating properties than other varieties, are ideal for maintaining comfort levels in your home as they can be tilted at an angle to allow you to control the amount of light and air that enters the room. They are made from timber, metal, PVC or fabric louvers that are affixed to a cloth tape and work by a cord attached to a pulley system.
Many types of blind can be used over skylights as long as they have a heat-resistant backing that will help to keep the room cool.
Today's climate demands that we think beyond aesthetics when choosing window coverings. Energy efficient window furnishings not only help the environment, they ensure that you stay comfortable while saving money on energy bills.