Have you ever walked into a room in your home, discovered it was a bit warm, and drawn the blinds or shades or draperies to control that heat? Seems like a simple movement, but with energy prices and concerns about creating pollutants, this simple act is preferable to turning down the air conditioner to “kick it on.” This simple action could be an important clue for how you as a homeowner can gain a greater degree of control over your home’s energy costs, your comfort and increase the value of your home at the same time!

Window Coverings or no Window Coverings

Did you know that if you have a window that has no window covering on it at all, and you live in California, Texas, Florida, or any other consistently warm state, you are sending money right out the window every day? When lowered or closed, window coverings like shades, blinds, shutters, window film and others keep the heat out and allow your home to retain the cool air produced by your hard-working air conditioner. Your home cooling equipment doesn’t have to work so hard, and that SAVES YOU MONEY. Keeping your home’s internal temperature constant cuts energy usage, and keeps you much more comfortable throughout the day.

Did you know that if you have a window that has no window covering on it at all, and you live in Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, or any other consistently cold state, you are also letting money leak from your windows as well. Why? Stand next to a window in the middle of the winter. Even the most energy efficient windows leak some cold into the room. Bare, cold windows can act like a heat sinc, pulling heat from the room toward those cold windows. What a waste of expensive energy.

But you sa, “I don’t like to have things at my windows … I have a great view!”

No problem. Your view can stay fantastic, and you can continue to enjoy it by using products that disappear from site. For example, do you know about aftermarket window films? The array of window films out there today is astonishing, and you can make choices among them that won’t compromise your view, but will improve your comfort level and energy usage enormously.

This clear film is quite transparent and yet it pushes back a lot of heat all day long, keeping your home much cooler than if it weren’t there at all. This is the bare minimum that any east-, south- or west-facing window should have. By adding a quality window film to all the windows of a home that is 3000 square feet, you could save as much as 10 percent a year on cooling costs, and certainly be part of the growing populace that contributes to reducing energy pollutants. Window coverings are GREEN!

Draperies: Not just for Scarlet O’Hara

According to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent when drawn during cold weather. Their site states, “To reduce heat exchange or convection, draperies should be hung as close to windows as possible. Also let them fall onto a windowsill or floor. For maximum effectiveness, you should install a cornice at the top of a drapery or place the drapery against the ceiling. Then seal the drapery at both sides and overlap it in the center. You can use Velcro or magnetic tape to attach drapes to the wall at the sides and bottom. If you do these things, you may reduce heat loss up to 25 percent.”

Two draperies hung together will create a tighter air space than just one drapery. One advantage is that the room-side drapery will maintain around the same temperature as the interior space, adding to a room's comfort.

Medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings have been found to reduce heat gains by 33 percent. Draperies also stay cooler in the summer than many other window treatments because their pleats and folds lose heat through convection.

Made to Shade!

Window shades are not what they used to be. There is such a cool array of window shading products out there now. From solar shades, to filament shades, to shades made of custom materials to suit creative environments -- the options are truly endless, even a bit mind boggling. This brings me to another of my favorite resources … window-coverings professionals.

Did you know that there are interior designers who specialize in this area, and can find you incredible choices to go with your décor, even be the inspiration for it! And window-coverings professionals can make what looks like difficult measuring and installation become really easy and worth every penny spent to include their expertise. Shutters have also been a long-time way to manage the midday heat in southern climes. They are so beautiful, come in so many wonderful styles, and are hard-working, too.

According to research done by mega-manufacturer, Hunter Douglas, today’s homes sell better when quality window-coverings are installed. Their studies show that house hunters are looking for homes with products that give them as much control over their environment as possible. Our experience shows us that when quality window-coverings are in a home that’s on the market, the sale price trends higher than without them.

For more information about how to add wonderful window coverings to your home, contact a window-coverings professional in your area. Working with a window-coverings professional is the most economical choice. A professional can get proper measurements and help you with the right choices for your décor, preferences, and climate.

For assistance in finding a professional in your area, call my company, Grace McNamara Inc. at 651.293.1544. We’ll be happy to put you in touch with a designer or dealer who can help you add value to your windows and your home!

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