While there’s no question that window treatments primarily serve a decorative function, they can also reduce your monthly electrical bills by regulating indoor temperature. This is important because winter’s just around the corner, and WAWV says that you should start refitting your home with energy-efficient window covers before the cold sets in. A combination of window drapes and blinds is one option specifically recommended by Angie’s List, the leading provider of consumer reviews in the country, since it offers maximum sun protection and little heat loss.
That said, there are more effective options available if you seek the advice of window solution companies like Arjay’s Window Fashions. According to them, you’re better off installing a liquid crystal ‘switchable’ film on your windows rather than employing two types of window treatments for the same purpose. This system will allow you to regulate your windows’ ‘solar heat gain’, or the rate at which temperatures increase due to heat and light from the sun.
Dealing with Solar Heat Gain
One thing you should remember about solar heat gain is that blocking excess sunlight doesn’t always translate to blocking excess heat. This, in turn, means that your drapes and curtains aren’t necessarily doing a good job at regulating heat, even if they’re good at preventing sunlight from getting indoors. In fact, even installing double-glazed windows (i.e. windows that consist of two glass panes) at home won’t help because they also need a low emissivity coating before they can block as much as 73 percent of solar heat. Without it, they can only block about 50 percent, and that’s not even taking certain window treatments into account.
The Role of Window Films
By contrast, installing a decorative window film allows your windows to block as much as 30 percent of solar heat, and also allow just as much heat indoors, by themselves. Some types of switchable window films- like liquid crystal suspended particle devices – take things a step higher by utilizing molecular particles that actively block sun radiation once they’re energized; thus reducing heat and light gain by 90 percent. The resulting tint also has the added benefit of providing you with excellent privacy.
Other Ways to Regulate Solar Heat Gain
Of course, this doesn’t mean that window treatments won’t serve you anymore. Honeycomb shades, for example, trap excess heat in their hollowed-out air pockets, thus making your home cool in the summer and warm during winter. Aesthetics aren’t a problem because companies like Arjay’s Window Fashions can fashion such window treatments that complement your overall interior design.
The prospect of lower utility bills should be enough motivation to get your windows fitted with these films and special shades.
(Source: Angie’s List: Window Treatments, WAWV, August 26, 2012)