Win-win windows: Treatments that look great and help you save energy

No matter what treatment you choose, make sure to first check your windows for faults. No window treatment can make up for a really leaky window.

Key Points

  • Window treatments can look great and help save energy.
  • With so many options, it can be difficult to determine what type of window cover is the best fit for your home.
  • Consider the energy savings potential along with your style preference before making a decision. 

We recently decided to get new window treatments in our living room. I was excited to update the space, but was quickly overwhelmed by all the options. I wanted something that would look great, but through the process learned that different options could offer benefits beyond aesthetics.

Here’s a quick guide to help you narrow down all the options:

Blinds

Pros: Blinds come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. They even make wide, white ones that resemble indoor shutters (a win for Fixer-Upper fans everywhere). The adjustable slats help control light and ventilation. They can also help keep your home cool in summer, reducing heat gain by up to 45 percent.

Cons: Blinds don’t offer much energy savings in the winter. Those same slats that can let in a light breeze during the summer don’t do much to control heat loss in the winter.

Tip: On hot days, adjust the slats to reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored celling to diffuse heat and glare.

Draperies

Pros: Options with draperies are almost limitless. Different fabric types, colors and patterns offer a wide variety of style options for your home. Depending on what type of fabric you choose, drapes can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Cons: Due to the wide variety of options available, it’s difficult to put a number on a drapery’s energy performance.

Tip: To optimize your draperies’ energy savings, hang them close to the wall and let them fall all the way to the floor. Seal them to the wall on both sides of the window and let them overlap in the middle. Choose a heavier fabric to help block more air that might sneak in through leaky windows.

Shades

Pros: Shades are a simple, effective solution. When properly installed, they are an energy-savings winner year-round.

Cons: None of the options at our local stores fit the style of our living room. I might consider these more for a basement room.

Tips: Mount your shades as close to the glass as possible to maximize energy savings potential.

The final word

No matter what treatment you choose, make sure to first check your windows for air leakage and caulk or weatherstrip where needed. No window treatment can make up for a really leaky window.

For details about even more window treatment options, check out this article from the Department of Energy.

Happy shopping! And if you’re curious, I went with the wide white blinds. As a wise person once said, “Always be yourself, unless you can be Joanna Gaines. Then be her.”

And that’s all we really need to know.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: window treatments, Joanna Gains, save energy, blinds, drapes, shades

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