All window blinds have some insulative properties. However, purpose-built energy efficient blinds can truly help improve the heating and cooling efficiency of your home.
Windows are where the greatest heat loss and heat gain occurs in the home.
I’ve written previously here on EcoVillageGreen about how windows with a low solar heat gain coefficient will help reduce cooling costs.
But what about the rays that manage to penetrate the window?
In summer we want to reduce the amount of solar energy entering the house so that we reduce our cooling costs, while in winter we want to reduce heat loss to reduce heating costs.
Window coverings can help create the insulation to do just this, helping to reduce heat loss from your home by about 40%, for example. So what type of blind is best?
Five styles of energy efficient blinds
Honeycomb shades: This type of blind has a series of single, double or triple celled walls. These cells trap hot air in the summer and cool air in the winter, which makes them effective insulators. More cells means more air gets trapped, and the greater the insulating power of the blind. These blinds are very versatile in that there is a diversity of fabrics to choose from and a range of opacities depending on the look you are trying to achieve. As well, these blinds tend to stack higher when open, which gives you a more unobstructed view.
Vertical blinds: These blinds are particularly popular around sliding doors or very large windows. They are not as energy efficient as some of the other styles of blind, generally because they are not tight fitting around the window or door. However, sometimes they are the most practical option for covering a large space. Vinyl or lined fabric vertical blinds will be the most energy efficient options. Many of the PVC blinds are now textured to give them a fabric look, but with the benefits of easy-cleaning and complete opacity.
If you aren’t fond of the look of vertical blinds, there are also cellular vertical blinds, which have all the insulating advantages of honeycomb shades, but are oriented vertically to cover large areas such as sliding doors.
Louvered blinds: Tight-fitting louvered blinds also offer some insulating properties as they form a tight seal with the window. Look into options that are designed to close as tightly as possible. Learn more from video on how to use them to be the most energy efficient.
Fabric tie-up shade: Light and UV blocking fabric shades can be very effective insulators. Obviously they have the versatility of a very large range of fabrics to make it easier to match with the decor of your home. Tie-up shades are very attractive, however they do cover a good portion of the window when open. This makes them a perfect window dressing for windows that might have traffic going by or areas where you aren’t too concerned about seeing the view, but still would like some light coming through.
Roller blinds: Roller blinds have the advantage of being made to measure and therefore tight fitting for each window, which helps with insulation. They can come in black-out or thermal materials that not only cut out light, but also help trap air between the window and the rest of the room.
Blinds can also help block UV light that changes the colours of fabrics on your furniture and your curtains and can help prevent fading of your floor and artwork. So, not only do they save you some money on heating and cooling your home, they also protect your investments in home furnishings.
Energy efficient blinds can also be used in combination with energy efficient windows and energy efficient curtains to save you even more money on your energy bills.
Even if you don’t currently have energy efficient blinds on your windows, you can still use them to help improve the energy efficiency of your home. Close the blinds, particularly those that are south facing, during the day to help insulate the house from the sun’s energy in the summer. At night, open the blinds when the outside temperature is cooler. In the winter, open blinds on south facing windows on sunny days to help heat the home and close blinds at night to keep the heat in.
If you don’t have any window treatments, or are looking to replace current ones, then look into energy efficient blinds as they are specifically designed to help you insulate around windows.