ENERGY EFFICIENCY: THE CATCH WORD.
In today’s modern world the word ‘energy efficiency’ stands out boldly. The earth-friendly lot see it as the red light on top of an ambulance with its incessant whirring. The more energy efficient a product, the happier the user. We are constantly reminded to either reduce or make do without a service to save energy or to use less energy and obtain the same service. The former refers to energy conservation and the latter to energy efficiency. Both go a long way in reducing Green House Gas emissions which are the direct cause of climate change. The Green House Gases are none other than carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. The level of these gases is rising so alarmingly because we do not give a thought to energy efficiency. It is causing global warming, another ‘hip’ word of this 21st century, raising average temperatures around the world. Melting ice caps, rising sea levels, related flooding. We have to stop. We have to think. How can we save this great, wide, beautiful, wonderful world?
ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOW TREATMENTS:
Using an incandescent lamp that uses less energy instead of a compact, fluorescent lamp for the same amount of light is being energy efficient. Replacing an old model of a refrigerator or a washing machine for more energy saving ones is being energy efficient. We have to make the right choices about window treatments too to be energy efficient. Window treatments can be energy efficient because they indirectly reduce the overuse of air –conditioners in summer or heaters in winter, cutting down on power intake and releasing less Green House Gases into the atmosphere. How well we insulate our windows with energy efficient window treatments is directly related to how much our heating and cooling bills will be, saving energy, our money and the planet.
THE ECONOMY OF ROLLER SHADES:
Of all window treatments, a correctly mounted roller shade made of non-permeable material is the simplest, most efficient and cost-effective, energy saving window treatment when properly installed. The effectiveness is due to the shades ability to block the air flow to form an insulating layer of air. A conventional roller shade mounted inside the frame with no more than ¼ inch gap at the sides and touching the sill will reduce heat loss by about 25%. By adding side tracks, the efficiency may be increased by 45%. An inside mounted shade with a reflective coating also may be 45% more efficient. To be most effective, a window shade must be:
-installed with sidetracks for a tight fit.
-Placed one inch from the glass (inside mount)
-Covered with a reflective material facing the glass.
A shade meeting these conditions will be approximately 55% more efficient than not. The reflective material made of uncoated aluminum is more effective than aluminized polyester film or fabric that has a plastic coating over the aluminum in deflecting the sun.
The sealed outside mount is more complicated and requires the use of materials that increase the cost, making this installation less cost-effective. All four edges are tightly sealed, reducing heat loss by 45%. Tracks are added to the side, and weather stripping is added to the bottom and top.
An unsealed roller shade, mounted outside or over the window frame is nearly as effective as one mounted inside. For increased effectiveness, install two shades, one mounted inside and one mounted outside the window frame. These may both be unsealed for an R-value of about 1.8, or the inside mount can be unsealed and outside mount can be sealed for a total R-value of 2.3.
The opaqueness or translucency of the shade can contribute to its efficiency. An opaque shade will be slightly more efficient than a translucent shade.
Shades with a dual layer of fabric, a light color on one side of an extremely reflective fabric and a darker color on the other that is heat absorbing add more functionality. The light color will reflect heat in summer while the dark color will absorb heat during winter. The reflective surface should always face the warmest side – outward during the heating season and inward during the cooling season, and drawn all the time to be effective. In summer, the light colored reflective material will keep the sun’s heat out, and in winter the dark heat absorbing faces outwards converting the sunlight into heat. The in-facing lighter reflective side reflects the warm indoor air away from the windows back into the room.
Window blinds, on the other hand, can reduce summer heat gain because of the reflective coating on their slats but can be relatively ineffective in controlling heat loss during winters.
The prevalent use of curtains and roller shades in combination provide one of the better barriers to heat loss from window areas during winter.
To block the sun’s rays, consider the shading coefficient of roller shades. The solar coefficient means the ability of a window treatment to reduce heat again. The lower the number, the less the heat that enters your home. Roller shades offer some of the lowest shading coefficients for window treatments, according to recent studies.
The D.O.E considers window shades the most effective and simplest way to save energy. Here’s proof of the economy of a roller shade.
THE EVOLUTION OF ROLLER SHADES AND THEIR INCREASED ECONOMY.
The typical roller shade is a rectangular swath of material attached to a wooden dowel or a metal tube and mounted on two brackets. A chain pulley system or a spring mechanism rolls the fabric up and down. They have been around for years in this form until they evolved into the contemporary version.
The Light Filtering Roller Solar Shades offered by Crown and Graber are made of 100% woven polyester fabric. They are designed to diffuse sunlight into your room. When rolled down they mute the view from the outside while controlling the amount of sunlight entering the home. The subdued ambience provided by them gives a relaxed, cosy feel. The insulation effect lowers the temperature inside considerably.
The Room Darkening Roller Solar Shades are the best for solar heat control. They have a bright white color on the exterior facing side or a reflector metalized coating. They offer maximum glare control, enabling us to use the television or computer comfortably while still maintaining a shadowed view of the outside. They provide for a comfortable work or rest environment. They have an excellent curb appeal because of the neat, uniform appearance from the outside. By blocking a significant amount of sunlight, they reduce the temperatures of the interior and save energy.
Blackout Roller Solar Shades completely block out the sunlight from a room. They are shadow and silhouette proof, offering the highest level of privacy.
LightWeaves Graber Solar Roller Shades are made of SheerWeaves Phifer fabric and have exceptional performance levels because of the inherent properties of the material.
The cordless, motorized control made available allows for regulating the position of the shades, according to the time of the day. To achieve an uncovered-window-look and get an excellent view of the outside they can be lifted up into a small space at the top of the window without making their presence too obvious. Being able to make optimum use of natural light cuts down on energy costs.
Easy maintenance and durability make roller shades an excellent option to manage light.