I often wondered if window shades improve energy efficiency or not. So, I decided to dig around to get the facts. Here’s the cold truth (yes pun intended)! Well it turned out to be true, the fact that window shades improve energy efficiency. But like just about everything else in the world of energy savings, not all window shades are created equal. It’s just like comparing low-e windows from manufacturer to manufacturer. Do you think a $100 window has the same energy star rating as a $400 window? Not! Anyway, let’s get right to it:
Just How Much do Window Shades Improve Energy Efficiency
Well much to my surprise, the energy ratings on certain styles of window shades is measurable, and to some extent very significant. While there is no replacement for a high-end low-e window, the extra 2 points you can get from a top-of-the-line blind will actually affect your energy bill. So here are some points worth noting:
One of the better choices for energy efficient shades are “Honeycomb Shades”. The layered design of honeycomb shades tends to trap air inside the individual cells. Since air is a poor conductor of heat, the honeycomb structure creates a barrier that effectively reduces heat transfer. The Cold Truth: the ratings vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but when properly tested, the energy ratings ranged from R-2 to R-5. Like I said earlier, pretty significant. To put this in to perspective, these ratings are equivalent to installing 1/8” thick rigid foam insulation. That said, I would be a little leery of those suppliers who claim they have a rating or R-8 for a window shade.
Tips for Energy Efficient Shades
Mount the window shades as close to the glass as possible. The width of the shade should be as close to the window opening width as possible to create a somewhat sealed airspace.
Dual shades should be reversed when the season changes. The highly reflective white side should face outside in the summer and towards the inside of your home during the winter months. Conversely, the dark heat absorbing side should face inward in summer and outward during the winter.
Some quilted window shades feature sealed edges which will control the air flow around the shade much more effectively to boost the insulation effect.
Compliment your shades with a set of blackout drapes. The thermal lining of the drapes will boost the overall insulation value of your window.
Be sure to open your shades on a nice sunny day in the winter, or you will actually have a net loss of energy. Not good!