Energy Efficient Window Treatments
Installing the correct window treatments can reduce energy consumption in residential homes, providing a remarkable opportunity to reduce both air conditioning and heating bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that consumers can reduce solar heat gain by over 70% in the summer and heat loss by up to 25% in the winter by installing the proper window treatments. Although glass is a remarkable building material that allows us to borrow ambient sunlight to light our interiors while seeing the world around us from inside our homes & offices – it is a very poor insulator. In fact, it is widely understood in the architectural and engineering community that glass is the weak link in the chain when considering heat loss and gain in a building.
Building designers also know that the proper selection of window treatments will have a substantial impact on comfort and energy consumption in their designs. In addition to reducing energy consumption, selecting the proper window treatments can literally provide building occupants a better quality of life. There have been a number of studies that confirm that natural daylight has long term and important positive health effects and that natural light can actually contribute to healing diseases. An important part of the design strategy in improving window performance, especially in our climate, is to reduce sunlight penetration while enhancing daylight. Sunlight is what you see when you are facing the sun, daylight is what you see when the sun is at your back.
When considering heat gain through your windows there are two different sources of heat to consider and it is critical to ascertain which source is causing the problem [or it could be both sources], but one has nothing to do with the other. We often see window treatment solutions employed that actually have aggravated a heat gain situation making it worse. Direct sunlight that is striking glass is referred to as "Direct Solar Heat Gain" and temperature differential [the outside air temperature vs the inside temperature] is called "Conducted Heat Gain" When developing systems to reduce solar gain through windows and glass, products that are installed outside the glass should be absorbers and shade the glass. However when installing products inside the glass they should be reflectors and reflect sunlight back out through the glass.
When the goal is to reduce conducted heat gain, it is important that products be installed with low U-factors or high R-values and that they be installed properly to reduce airflow around the product. The reference to U-factors [the rate of heat flow] or R-values [the resistance to heat flow] simply means that the products provide better thermal resistance to heat passing through them.
Window Design Group offers a number of different products and design strategies that can improve window and glass performance by rejecting solar heat gain in the summer, slowing heat loss in the winter and evening; and converting direct sunlight through sun-struck windows to diffused natural daylight. The sun can be controlled by interior products like cellular shades, roller shades and other products that reflect solar heat back out through the glass. Most all of these products are operable [both manually & by motorization] so that solar heat can be reduced when it is undesirable or allowed to penetrate the building when additional heat is welcome.
Cold spots and heat-loss at windows can be controlled with products that provide thermal insulating properties like cellular shades and thermally lined draperies. Even keeping standard shades and blinds closed in the evening can reduce heat loss and help in reducing utility bills. Please explore the many unique options of solar inslulating window treatments right here in our user friendly website.