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What are the Most Effective Energy Efficient Summer Window Treatments?

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summer-windowsStay cool this summer with energy efficient window treatments. Our experts share how to prevent summer heat gain in your home. Energy efficient window treatments can reduce energy costs and keep your home cool while looking fabulous at the same time. Energy efficient summer window treatments include shading awnings, blinds, draperies, mesh window screens, overhangs, shades, and shutters.

Awnings

Did you know window awnings can help reduce solar heat gain in the summer? Window awnings reduce heat up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. Awnings can help shade a single window or shade entire side of your house. Made from synthetic fabrics such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates, these fabrics are water-repellent, mildew-resistant, and fade-resistant. For the summer, choose a light-colored awning, as it will reflect more sunlight. Also, opaque and tightly woven to materials help increase energy efficiency.

To prevent hot air from becoming trapped around the window, awnings require proper ventilation. Grommets (eyelets) or other openings along the tops and sides of an awning can provide ventilation. If the awning opens to the sides or top this will also help to vent the hot air.

Blinds

Unlike traditional shades, the slats of interior blinds help increase energy efficiency. Blinds can control light and ventilation to help reduce summer heat gain. In fact, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by 45% when closed and lowered on a sunny window. Adjust blinds to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling. This diffuses light without much heat or glare.

Typically mounted above the window, exterior blinds are generally made from wood, steel, aluminum, or vinyl. To provide shade lower these blinds completely until their slates meet. Partially raised blinds allow some air and daylight to enter through the windows.

Draperies

A drapery’s fabric can be either closed or open weave. The color you choose can affect its ability to reduce heat gain. Draperies are an energy efficient choice because they maintain a cooler temperature than other window treatments. Medium colored draperies with white plastic backings can reduce heat gain by up to 33%. Prevent heat gain during the summer by closing draperies.

Mesh Window Screens

Mesh window screens can diffuse solar radiation, reducing heat gain in the summer. Mesh window screens are particularly effective on east and west facing windows. Screens should cover the entire window and mounted in an exterior frame.

Overhangs

A roof overhang will jet out beyond the walls of the home, thereby providing protection. Roof overhangs are most effective at shading south facing windows from the summer heat. Constructing and installing an overhang can be very difficult because requires solar considerations such as latitude, climate, solar radiation transmittance, and window size and type. However, homeowners can incorporate an overhang into a home design before or while it’s under construction. Alternatives for an existing home are window awnings, louvered patio covers, or lattice-type panels.

Shades

Window shades can be one of the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy. Mount shades as close to the glass as possible with the sides held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space. Try lowering shades in the summer to keep rooms cool.

To better increase energy efficiency year round consider installing dual shades. Dual shades are white and highly reflective on one side, while the opposite side is dark-colored for heat absorption. Reverse shades with the season to prevent heat gain or loss. The reflective surface should always face the warmest side – outward during the summer and inward in the winter. In order to be effective, you will need to have these shads drawn out all day.

Shutters

Interior and exterior window shutters can help to prevent heat gain and loss. Similar to window blinds, louvered shutters work best for summer shading. Louvers allow ventilation and sunlight to enter a room. They also block some direct radiation, helping to keep rooms cooler. Unlike louvered shutters, solid shutters will decrease heat loss and summer heat gain. Fit shutters tightly against the window frame. This will provide an insulating air space between the shutter and the window. To maximize energy efficiency, combine shutters with other window treatments such as draperies.

 

Summer windows can help you save on energy costs in the future. These are also environmentally friendly alternatives to using air conditioning. If you are living in the greater New York City area, contact Shading Systems to keep your home cool this summer.

Advancements in Awnings

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Retractable AwningWhether you’re enjoying a hot tub in the snow or watching the rain, installing an awning for your windows and doors gives you the opportunity to enjoy activities outdoors, regardless of the weather. With this summer guide to awnings, you won’t be left in the dark about features to look for and factors to consider.
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Will Exterior Awnings Make my Home More Energy Efficient?

Posted: Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 | Filed under: Home cooling, Uncategorized, window shading, window treatments
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Energy Saving Ideas

Energy Saving Ideas

Most people understand that energy efficiency equals budgetary efficiency, and so we see a growing number homeowners who are looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient.  One way to introduce energy efficiency into your home without the need for any major construction is to add awnings to the exteriors of your home that have significant window spaces.  You may ask why people seek out homes with large windows if they want to be energy efficient, and the answer is that the windows can be very efficient, as long as the homeowner has the proper shading systems to control the amount of light that enters the home.  In cooler months sun streaming through large windows can help heat the home, and in the summertime, strategic shading over those same windows can help cool the home.  And that is where awnings come in.

 

In fact, in 2012, the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA) did a study that showed fabric awnings could save homeowners up to 50% on their warm weather energy bills by reducing the air conditioning load in hot weather months.  Also, the US Governments Department of Energy advises window awnings for “reducing solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows.  You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom made to shade the entire side of your house.”   So, you can indeed have your windows and keep your home cool too. Read more »

Choosing Sheer Window Shades for the Home

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Sheer shades for the window

Sheer Window Shades

Shades can be thought of as a way to keep the world out of our homes.  But some of us like to enjoy letting the world into our home.  Sheer shades are one of the many ways that you can achieve this.  New types of sheer shading and new materials offer an even wider array of choices in determining exactly how much of the outside world you want to bring into your home.  Expanded choices in sheer window shades also open up a whole new world of design options.

Sheer shades are different than regular shades in that they (typically) will combine some of the qualities of blinds with that of solar shades.  Sheer shades can allow you to “open” or “close” the shades, varying the amount of daylight that comes into your rooms.  One helpful tip when deciding on what type of sheer shading will work best with your room, the slats that you can maneuver open or shut in a sheer shade come in varying widths.  Keep in mind that smaller widths mean that when the shade is “open” your views will be impeded by more lines from the turned slats.  Wider slats allow for a less interrupted view.  Read more »

How to Keep Outdoor Summer Entertaining Cool

Posted: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 | Filed under: awnings, exterior shades, Home cooling, Home Improvement, retractable awnings, window treatments
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Deck Awning

Retractable Awning

What a better way to revel in the warm air of summer than to enjoy your outdoor spaces?  In fact, over the past few years, as more and more people have learned about the possibilities in outdoor design (kudos to HGTV for that!) these spaces have become less a luxury enjoyed only by a few, and more a planned space for those with homes, and in many cases with apartments. Read more »