Choosing the right window treatments can lower your heating and cooling bills. From simple blinds and curtains to specialized window attachments, there are plenty of ways to use window coverings to save energy. How? Read on.

Do Window Shades Save Energy? 

Windows are a source of considerable heat loss. During the heating season, about 30% of your home’s heat loss is through your windows. During the warmer months, 76% of the sunlight that travels through windows is converted to unwanted heat. The results? Year-round increases in the workload of your heating and cooling systems.

When it comes to window treatments, the type you choose determines how much you save.

For example, specialized cellular shades are the most effective option for retaining heat. These shades can reduce wintertime heat loss by 40% or more. During a heating season, that equals an energy savings of 10%! During months when you rely on air conditioning, cellular shades reduce solar heat by 60%. Used year-round, cellular shades can lower your total energy consumption by as much as 15%. Amazing, right?

Insulating Window Coverings for the Winter 

Curtains, drapes, and blinds—along with previously mentioned insulated cellular shades—all reduce unwanted heat loss when the temps are low. The same treatments keep heat out by blocking out UV rays during the summer months, too!

Related: Upgrading to Double-Pane Windows Is a Big Decision

Using Curtains and Drapes to Retain Heat 

Even traditional fabric curtains and drapes are remarkably effective at insulating windows. The precise energy savings depend on the size, fit, and fabric of the window covering and the integrity of the seal.

Closing your curtains can reduce heat loss by as much as 10%, but be sure to follow these best practices:

  • Hang curtains as close to the window as possible
  • Consider sealing the curtains to the window frame with tape or Velcro for more coverage
  • Close all curtains at night
  • Close any curtains that don’t receive direct sunlight during the day

Upgrading to Insulated Cellular Shades 

Insulated cellular shades take the heat-saving benefits of curtains and drapes up a notch. Made from insulated, pleated materials, cellular shades have tiny air pockets that act as insulators that reduce heat loss by 40% or more.

Get the most out of your insulated cellular shades by:

  • Choosing the right size and fabric for your home
  • Adding insulated cellular shades on windows where your family spends the most time
  • Making sure the shade fits tightly, without any gaps around the edges

Insulated cellular shades are considered the best window covering for heat retention, but they can sometimes be difficult to open and shut to let in warm daylight. Look for shades that are easier to open if you’re installing on a living room picture window or in a room that relies on natural light.

Window Coverings for Heat Reduction 

Window coverings are just as useful during the cooling season. Using shade to save energy is one of the most cost-effective ways to lower your home’s energy bill; it’s as simple as drawing the curtains before you leave home in the morning!

Just how much do curtains help keep your air conditioner or heat pump from working overtime to keep your home cool? Even traditional curtains offer substantial energy savings, while more specialized window treatments up the ante.

Using Curtains and Drapes to Block Heat

On warmer days, closing drapes prevents interior heat gain by around 33%. When possible, opt for medium-to-light-colored drapes. Blackout curtains save the most energy, especially those with white plastic backing to reflect light rather than absorb the light’s heat. As the name suggests, blackout curtains are designed to reflect direct and ambient light from entering a room. Thick and often quite heavy, they’re also ideal treatments to help regulate indoor temperatures!

Insulated cellular shades reduce heat loss by 60% when properly installed. We recommend choosing cellular shades that can be opened and shut by sliding along tracks installed in the window frame. These track systems allow for more convenient use and ensure a tighter seal.

Other Options: Energy Saving Window Film 

An energy-saving window film is a more permanent solution to retain and block heat seasonally. Available in clear and subtly tinted hues, various window films are popular in climates with long, hot seasons. Window films reduce heat transfer from sunlight and block out harmful UV rays. This also protects upholstery, furniture, artwork, and woodwork from damage or fading due to direct sunlight.

Get Personalized Energy Efficiency Tips from the Experts 

Window coverings are one helpful way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Let the HVAC experts at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning identify more ways to keep your HVAC system running smoothly. From regular maintenance to smart upgrades, we have the expertise to deliver energy savings year-round. Schedule an appointment or call (800) 893-3523 to get started!