Both the summers and the winters bring their own sets of challenges in terms of heat insulation and glare reduction. During the summers we think of ways to keep the heat and glare from the sunlight out. The winters are a different ball game altogether. The glare becomes a major issue during the cold season due to the awkward angle of the slanting sun rays, unlike the summers when the sun is mostly overhead. Also, during winters preventing the heat from escaping outside takes precedence so that it stays warm and cozy inside the house.
Why Glass Windows are not Enough on Their Own
The walls are thick enough to provide a good amount of insulation. The windows, on the other hand, that mostly use glass, prove to be sloppy both in terms of preventing outdoor heat or cold from entering inside the house and stopping the warmth inside the house from escaping outside. This can be improved by opting for double or triple-layered glass from the windows, but these are quite expensive and difficult to install. Opting for materials other than glass may entail significant compromises on many factors, visibility being a major one.
Importance of Window Treatments
The thing is that you do not want to block the view all the time. Also, over-reliance on the temperature control systems installed inside the house is not a very smart idea. They do keep the house cool during summers and heat it up during the chilly winters but at the cost of incurring significant energy bills. Moreover, it also increases the possibility of such systems malfunctioning or breaking down because of being overworked. It is also not environmentally sustainable. This is where the window treatments of various kinds come into the picture. These improve the insulation by increasing the R-value and also help filter out the UV radiation.
The Advantages of Solar Shades
Window blinds and shades have been doing the job for us for ages. Solar shades are specifically designed to provide respite from the Sun’s heat and glare from the sunlight. Bereft of any shade, hot rays of the Sun can not only increase the temperature inside the house but can also ruin the furniture by causing permanent discoloration due to continuous exposure. Solar shades are available in both indoor and external variants and are an effective and relatively inexpensive way of tackling the problem.
Can Solar Shades Keep the Cold Out?
While we all know the benefits of using solar shades during the summers, the important question is: Are these shades effective during the winters? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ but it will also depend on which types of solar shades do you use, what kind of fabrics these are made up of and how you use these solar shades. In theory, any kind of insulation will help, be it solar shades, cellular shades or any other type of window blinds. Solar shades can be particularly effective in more than one way. Knowing which solar shades to opt for and how to use them properly can go a long way in ensuring that you get the most out of such window treatments.
Why the Choice of Fabric is Important
Solar shades, if chosen correctly can not only reflect the heat coming from the outside to keep the house cool, but these can also prevent the furnace heat from escaping outside. Solar shades are made from both light and dark fabrics and you can decide which one to go for depending on what you want for your house. Dark fabrics absorb more heat and also reduce the glare effectively. Lighter fabrics reflect back most of the heat but are not too effective in reducing the glare from the sunlight.
There are also high-performance reflective fabrics that can be used to make these shades even more efficient. Using blackout solar shades that use darker and thicker fabrics have more advantages during the winters as they can absorb and re-radiate the warmth inside the house. These also effectively block the UV exposure that reduces glare. The solar shades come with various degrees of opacity, termed as openness. The openness of 1% blocks 99% of UV radiation. You can test and find out which openness works best for you. The darker fabric also provides better visibility when compared to light fabrics so that you can look outside more clearly.
Double-Sided Solar/Roller Shades
There is not much difference between the roller shades and the solar shades except the openness factor. While solar shades focus more on filtering the light and insulating from the heat, unlike roller shades these do not completely block out the view. Double-sided solar roller shades can be vastly effective in maintaining a comfortable temperature in the house throughout the year. Double-layered shades have a reflective side (lighter fabric) and an absorbent side (darker fabric). During winters the shades can be installed in such a way that the reflective part faces inside (warmer side) while the darker side faces outside (colder side).
The point is that the reflective part should face the warmer side so that it reflects back the heat. During winters the reflective side will reflect the furnace heat or the heat from the room heater back and hence it will reduce the chance of any heat escaping outside. The darker side will absorb heat from outside and also any warmth from inside that manages to escape the lighter side. It will re-radiate that heat back in, thereby, keeping the house comfortably warm from the inside.
Benefits of Using Aluminum-Layered Solar Shades
These solar shades include a layer of aluminum that faces outwards. It performs dual functions of reflecting outside heat during summers and that of re-radiating the heat inside the room during the winters. These solar shades also help overcome the disadvantages that come with the use of dark or light fabrics in such shades. So, by providing effective heat management and glare control all the year-round, these shades can reduce extra seasonal expenditure and also save you some money on your energy bills. Solar shades have proven to be greatly helpful and cost-effective in making the summers a bit more comfortable but now you know that these can be effective when the winter chill is on. Window treatments like these are both comparatively inexpensive, available in a variety of designs and styles besides being extremely efficacious and the best part is that these are eco-friendly. For all the above reasons and more, solar shades are here to stay and with constant innovation, these are only getting better, paving way for harmonious and sustainable living.