By: Charlie Slack
Most people would agree that the best way to save money is not to spend it unnecessarily. The old adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” still rings true today except that the pennies have now become hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars!
We all realize that ever increasing energy costs must be brought under control and much has been written about ways to save both energy and money. A great opportunity to save is right there in your living room, dinning room, kitchen, bedrooms…etc. Your windows-or rather tour window coverings. The need to upgrade the insulation value of windows, whether by sealing and caulking around the older windows or purchasing newer more energy efficient models, is well documented. However, even the best windows offer a fraction of the insulation value of the walls. For example, a new home is Ontario must have a minimum insulation of R20 in the wall; the average double glazed thermo pane window is only R2, one tenth of the wall’s value.
This can be greatly enhanced by the proper choice of window coverings.
On average in the winter, 40 percent of the heat in a home escapes through the windows. Window coverings with a high R-value can provide much needed insulation and significantly reduce heat loss. Woo and vinyl are insulating materials and fabric shades with metalized or room-darkening lining are also good insulators. Some energy efficient honeycomb shades afford a winter R-value of 4.8 on double glazed windows.
Summer shading coefficients measure a windows ability to protect solar heat passing through the window into a home. It has been estimated that 53 percent of all heating entering the home comes in through the windows. A window shading with a low shading coefficient is most effective in shading against heat gain, reflecting or absorbing heat and shading the interior.
“The use of well-designed window coverings can result in substantial savings in heating and cooling costs due directly to the increased insulation values.”
Where direct sunlight is a problem, the best materials will be metalized or white backings on shads and insulated linings on draperies.
The use of well-designed window coverings can result in substantial savings in heating and cooling costs due directly to the increased insulation values. Of course, the temptation to fiddle with the thermostat is lessened when the room temperature is more consistent, therefore avoiding heating or cooling the entire home just to make one room more comfortable.
In addition to saving energy dollars, many of today’s window coverings offer a high UV (Ultraviolet light) rating to protect furnishings and flooring from fading and physical damage caused by too much direct sunlight. Imagine the cost of replacing wall-to-wall carpet or a favourite sofa.
A professional window-covering consultant will have the knowledge and experience to design window coverings that are not only attractive but also versatile, practical and functional.