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Using Window Treatments to Save Energy

Using Window Treatments to Save Energy

Everybody knows window treatments can make your home look better, but is that all?

If we told you that there was an easy way to minimize your energy use, save money on cooling, and maximize your comfort—all the while being stylish—would you believe us?

During the hottest months of the year, over half of the heat in a home comes in through the windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this can add 15 to 20 degrees to interiors and force air conditioners to work two to three times harder. And in winter months, the heat lost through windows can account for as much as 10 to 25% of a heating bill.

At Calico, many of our window covering products are designed to reduce the amount of solar heat that passes through the window. Energy-efficient window shades have been around for decades—in fact, Hunter Douglas invented their highly energy-efficient Duette® honeycomb shades in response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s! But that’s just the first of three energy-saving steps you might want to take to beautify your home and minimize cooling bills at the same time.

1. First line of defense: throw some shade

Shades mounted inside window moldings are step one to minimizing convection of either cold or hot air. Custom-made fabric shades (flat Roman shades, London shades, balloon shades) will fit perfectly and can be made with thermal linings. Roller shades, especially if "reverse roll mounted," will help, but are minimally effective because they are just a single layer at the window. Hunter Douglas pleated cellular shades are a good alternative: they trap air within the honeycomb pockets of the shade so little air escapes through the glass.

Hunter Douglas has several innovative styles designed to deflect the sun’s rays, and many are motorized with programmable remotes that allow you to lower shades or reposition vanes for maximum energy efficiency automatically. They’re well worth looking into.

If you’re stumped on which window treatments to choose, the Calico in-store and in-home consultants are always on hand to help you find the best solution for your windows – and their services are free!

2. Step two: add draperies

Drapes aren’t just practical—they also add a soft layer of texture and color that personifies your style. Closing a set of lined draperies during the day is a great way of keeping heat out and will also prevent fabrics and furnishings from fading. For optimum energy efficiency, drapery panels should:

  • Return to the wall, fit tightly and overlap in the center to reduce the convection of air in front of the window. This solution creates three trapped air spaces—each one increasing the level of insulation.

  • Draperies should be floor-length, but not block heat or air conditioning registers in walls or floor.

  • Finally, make shades and draperies with light-colored linings to reflect summer heat away from the house.

If you’re thinking of installing drapes yourself, be careful. Especially with large windows, drapery panels can be heavy and unwieldy, and the precision required to make them hang perfectly takes practice. Calico not only has over 5,000 fabrics from which to choose, they have reasonably priced professional measurers and installers to make sure your project comes out perfectly.

3. Last but not least: layer up

Adding a third layer to energy-efficient shades and drapes isn’t as excessive as it may sound, especially since as much as 50% of a home's heating and cooling energy can be lost through the windows. Layering a top treatment over the shade and drapery in the form of a board-mounted valance or cornice that caps the drapery will trap warm air at the top of the window, cutting down on drafts. Creating these air pockets between the three layers creates degrees of insulation, keeping the cooler air inside.

When it comes to blocking the rays, remember: you can go beyond just slathering on the SPF! Stop into any Calico retail store (there are 70 stores around the country) or take advantage of Calico’s free design services by scheduling an appointment with a Calico in-home consultant.

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