Choose the Right Window Treatment to Increase Energy Efficiency.
You may have chosen ultra – modern window treatments for your home from a reputed brand, expecting them to save you on energy bills and provide complete practical functionality. Are you happy with the outcome? If you are then you can stop reading here. If not, continue reading to evaluate the situation and understand where you may have gone wrong.
Choosing the appropriate window treatments in Canada for your home is not an easy task. The heat gain, heat loss or energy impact due to windows in your house depends on more than just what window treatments are installed on them. The climate of your Province, the orientation of the window, the area your window covers, shading options of your home and the window frame or glazing all go together to bring out the final result. Today, significant innovations introduced in framing and glazing materials and technically advanced contemporary window treatments have changed the energy performance of windows admirably. The energy efficient contemporary windows make your home comfier, reduce your energy costs and help to create a brighter, cleaner, healthier environment for you and your family.
Heat Gain and Heat Loss Through Windows.
When your windows do not have the protection of efficient window dressings, heat flows through it by means of conduction, convection, and radiation. Keeping the characteristics of heat transfer in mind, we have to come up with ideas that would prevent it effectively.
The value of the insulated window coverings is determined as per its R- Value of the window shading, which makes a huge difference to the energy consumed. Due to the difference between inside and outside temperature both during summer and winter, heat is lost or gained through the window. Apart from the temperature difference, heat is gained in your home from solar radiation (either direct or indirect), irrespective of the temperature outdoors. Air Leakage through cracks in the window is another form of energy loss for homes. Air leakage is mainly dependent on wind driven or temperature driven pressure changes in the atmosphere.
The insulating factor, known as the U-factor of the window, is the ability to control heat gain through windows, and is measured in terms of the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of the window; the air leakage is measured in terms of the amount of air (cubic feet or cubic meters per minute) that passes through a unit area of window. Consider all these factors in your window treatment.
Often it is assumed that larger windows allow more heat gain/loss than smaller windows. This is true only for windows with the conventional clear glazing. The technically advanced modern window treatments can be more effective in saving energy on larger windows as well, where the difference between larger or smaller window could be negligible. During summer, the north facing windows makes least difference to energy usage than those windows that face east, south or west in hot regions. This is the reason overhangs are used on south-facing windows to block out much of the summer sun in places with hot climate. Overhangs reduce heat gain and glare without diminishing the view of the outdoors. Like the area of the window, the difference in orientation of the windows can be negligible as well, with effective window treatments.
How to Reduce Energy Costs with Energy Efficient Window Treatments.
Though many consider window dressings ideas is for decorative purposes, they are highly effective in saving energy as well. It would pay not ignore their practical functions. Drapes, shades, blinds and shutters can admit or block sunlight and provide privacy whenever you require it. Window treatments, however, aren’t effective in reducing energy costs until you make proper use of them for gaining heat during winter or using natural sunlight to light up your home during the day.
Drapery with high reflectance and low transmittance properties will reduce solar heat gain more efficiently. Window coverings like horizontal Venetian blinds, mini-blinds, vertical slatted blinds, pleated and honeycomb shades, and roller shades which can be made of various materials, not only provide light and privacy but have great impact on controlling solar heat gain.
Unlike the overhangs, exterior shading or awning, interior shades require active operation by the homeowner, if they are not fully automated, to respond to changes. Motorized and automated shading systems are widely available on the contemporary market at reasonable rates, to solve all operational problems of consumers. With proper operations, window coverings can create the right atmosphere in your home throughout the year. So before choosing them go through the present and latest window treatment trends to give you better knowledge for your decision making.
Other Factors That Make a Difference.
If your home has south or west facing windows, your ideal choice would be to install window treatments that screen or block intense sunlight commendably. In cooler regions, it is the north facing windows that need particular attention. A high thermal factor for energy efficiency should be the main criteria here. Moreover, if you live in a cooler climate, it is preferred to have south facing windows whereas north facing windows are best for hot regions.
Check any visible air leakage in your window so that you can use caulk to block cracks, gaps, or joints less than one-quarter-inch wide. Also make use of weather-stripping for building components that move, such as doors and operable windows.
Consider all the factors that would make a difference to energy usage in your home before installing window treatments. Make optimum use of both the decorative and practical use of your window dressings to make them one of the most effective design statements in your home.