Eco-Friendly Window Coverings in Canada
The question uppermost everybody’s mind is how to create ‘sustainable’ green living spaces, more so because one can cash in on carbon credits accrued annually. Green cars, green buildings, green products, organic food, and clothing – the list can stretch on. But what does it mean to ‘go green’?
Well, not rocket science. Going green simply means reducing one’s ‘carbon footprint’ – reduce pollution, consumption, and waste.
Individuals and businesses are harnessing ways to achieve reduced pollution and get paid back for going green. The scramble is on for certifications that will ensure ‘greenness’ as a measure of quality. As the demand rises for environmentally safe, healthy products boom, there has been an unprecedented explosion of ‘green’ product claims vying for legitimacy.
According to UL Environment, a global independent safety science company, “Credible third-party certification is verified, designed and conducted by an independent body with no financial interest in the sale of the certified products or ties to manufacturers or industry besides fees for assessment services.”
‘Charity begins at home,’ goes the adage. Along with using environmentally safe, low- emitting material in building living spaces, one must use products that help sustain environmental consistency and stability. A huge factor in this consideration is ‘energy conservation’. It is a known fact that buildings typically lose 20% of their heat through windows. Scientists at Cornell claim that a single window pane loses 20 times the heat that’s lost as that of an adjacent wall of the same proportion. According to these scientists, one can reduce up to 90% of energy lost through windows by preparing windows scientifically. This very simply means that windows should ideally be double glazed; all cracks and crevices must be caulked and weather-stripped; window coverings in Canada must be hung an inch from the glass in order to trap air effectively.
To harness the sun’s natural energy, use window coverings like window blinds, shades, drapes and shutters that allow you to manage light and heat efficiently. This will help keep a handle on energy consumption, both in terms of heating and air-conditioning. If properly chosen to suit building and aesthetic needs, window treatments can block the heat and the glare while maintaining the desired view. Choose material that has been certified by GREENGUARD as low- emitting, as this will help contribute to clean air in rooms. It is said that some of the primary contributors to indoor pollution are upholstery fabrics and furnishings like window shades that release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air. VOC’s are said to cause allergies, cardiovascular disorders, some forms of cancer, etc. This makes children especially at risk to poor health. GREENGUARD certified modern window coverings release the fewest possible pollutants into the air, ensuring cleaner air than not. Many window shadings are also Microban protected, which means that the growth of stain-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew are inhibited. This protection is essential in areas exposed to a lot of moisture, like, bathrooms, and external usage, be it in residential or commercial buildings.
It may be said that some window treatment is better than none at all. That being said, it is of prime importance to select the right colors and fabric types that will optimize energy savings and create environmental comfort at the same time.
The use of dark-colored shadings controls the sun’s glare effectively while preserving external view. The light colored material reflects light better than dark material – this means that less heat is gained, but the glare of the sun is not obscured, and the view is considerably muted. Consider the requirements of a room before opting on colors – glare on computer and TV screens can cause irritation and loss of productivity. Those who need to sleep during the day might want to consider the glare factor before making a decision. If one opts for wood blinds or shutters, colors don’t come into play in consideration with glare, as wood or faux wood is completely dense and opaque, and the tilt of the vanes controls light as desired.
Today, Motorized Solar Controls for window treatments are getting the thumbs up – shadings can be remotely and automatically controlled to optimize consistent indoor temperatures, as they are equipped with light sensors that raise or lower shadings according to the intensity of the sunlight.
Low-emitting shadings along with motorization to optimize energy consumption gain consumers LEED credit points in terms of sustainable green practices. So be careful to choose shadings that conform to ‘best practices’ in green technology, even though they might prove to be a tad more expensive than non-green products; in the long run, you save on power bills and get returns on your carbon credits!
In a nutshell, according to the scientists from Cornell, wooden shutters with insulated core stand head and shoulders over other shadings with a whopping 75-90% reduction in heat loss, followed by double-layered insulating Roman shades with 65-75% and roller shades with side tracks and reflective surfaces with 55%. Lagging behind are Aluminum Venetian blinds and lined drapery not hung on traverse rods, with only 5-10% reduction in heat loss.
So, please be advised to go over window treatment specifications first, and that too, from reputed brands, before deciding on the best option for your building. Bonnie Chance!