British Columbia residents can all agree that the increasing price of powering a home is a major strain on all of our wallets.
If you utilize hydroelectricity you already know that prices are sky high, and will continue to increase throughout the foreseeable future as outlined by B.C’s current 10 year energy plan. If you favour using natural gas to control the temperature of your home, the carbon pollution pricing set out by the Federal government will have you wincing every time you turn up the heat for years to come.
So what does this mean for the average homeowner in British Columbia?
Together, we need to seek out, share and implement ways to make our homes more energy efficient, reducing the financial strain of heating and cooling our homes. There are many ways to decrease our carbon footprints and energy bills, but did you know that how you cover the windows in your home can greatly help with both?
Control the Light, Control the Temperature
We utilize window accessories such as blinds and drapes for a few different reasons. Of course they function as a decorative pieces, adding tasteful elements to all areas of the home. Enhancing the style of your house is an excellent reason to invest in new blinds, however when choosing new accessories, decoration should take a backseat to controlling the light.
The main function of drapes and blinds is to allow or stop natural light from entering our homes.
Sunlight that shines directly onto the windows of your house will increase the temperature through a process known as “Solar Heat Gain”. If you have ever been inside a greenhouse during the winter months, you would have felt an exaggerated version of what solar heat gain does to your home.
Warm Up During Winter
When the temperatures drop outdoors and ice begins to form on nearby ponds, you want to welcome the solar radiation of the sun into your home. When the strength of the sun is at its peak (typically midday), opening your blinds or shutters will let your home soak up the free, natural heat.
The problem is, heat can escape out of your windows just as easily as it can come in. Luckily, some blinds are great insulators and can help keep some of the sun’s energy in your home. When the sun disappears, or evening approaches, it’s a good idea to put your blinds back down again to support insulation.
We will discuss which blinds to select to help keep the warmth inside, but first let’s talk about the summer months, when the situation reverses itself and we are left with too much solar energy in our homes.
Cool Down in the Summer
The Okanagan Valley is a beautiful place in the winter with snow capped mountains and rows of hibernating grapevines as far as the eye can see. The residents of Kelowna and the surrounding towns know that once summer comes around, thoughts of snow go “out the window”, and are replaced with heat waves and clear sunny days.
During these months, the goal is to keep the strong radiation of the sun out of your home during the peak hours of the day. Simply by closing or putting down your blinds midday, you can easily keep the internal temperature of your home much cooler by deflecting the warm rays of the sun away from your home instead of letting them enter through your windows. Properly installed drapes or blinds can reduce the solar heat gain coefficient of clear glass from 20 to 70 percent.
When the sun begins to set, you can now open your blinds or shutters to aid in the process of letting the warm air inside your home escape back out into the atmosphere.
Choosing the Best Blinds
Although the position of the blinds plays a big part in controlling the temperature of your home, the type or style of blinds is equally important for conserving energy.
Honeycomb shades are one of the best choices when it comes to combining energy efficiency and style. Honeycomb shades have hollow cavities built into their structure which trap air inside of them, acting as an insulating barrier between your home and the outdoors.
Honeycomb shades significantly slow down the transfer of heat energy created from the sun’s light and increase the R-value of a standard glass window from 3.5 to levels as high as an R-value of 8.
Plantation style shutters are typically selected to fit the theme or style of a room. Aside from being aesthetically appealing, shutters can actually be quite energy efficient. Classic wooden blinds or shutters offer R-values between 2.77 and 3.17. Shutters don’t as much insulation as honeycomb blinds but will still significantly help in controlling the temperature of your home. Plastic or vinyl shutters are also effective, although wood is slightly better at resisting temperature changes.
Whether you decide to go with honeycomb blinds, wood shutters, or even a luxurious window covering, any window accessory that blocks or filters light will help reduce your energy costs and keep you and your family more comfortable.
needBlinds always offers 100% free consultations. Let our experts help you choose a style and blind-type that enhances your homes decor, while also helping in the fight against temperature fluctuations.