Keeping a home energy efficient is an increasing challenge that can benefit from the use of blinds or shades that block heat and reduce cooling loss. According to Hunter Douglas, manufacturer of window treatments, up to 40 per cent of hot and cool air escapes through the windows. Window options such as cellular blinds, wood blinds, solar shades and blackout blinds can reduce the amount of hot and cool air lost, which saves energy and money.
The cellular design, similar to a honeycomb, provides cells or pockets of knitted, lightweight cotton that resists heat. The cells trap the air inside, allowing it to cool or warm to room temperature. The larger the size of the cell, up to 1 inch, the more air it traps. The blinds are available in vertical and horizontal styles and in many colours. Blinds with two honeycomb cells, one inside the other, provide the highest energy efficiency. Cellular blinds are stain and mildew resistant and require only normal dusting to keep them clean.
Blinds made from wood provide an excellent barrier and are the tightest fitting window insulator that stops heat. The horizontal slats are available in 1- to 2 1/2-inch widths. The distance between the slats controls the amount of light. Wood is a natural product, so wiping wood oil annually on the blinds keeps them from drying and cracking. Wood blinds last for years, but the sun's rays will ultimately fade their colour. If you want the look of wood but not the cost, consider faux wood blinds.
Solar blinds are similar to sunglasses for your window, you can see out but the sun's heat is blocked. Solar blinds are made from a woven vinyl-coated fibreglass mesh that filters out the sun's glare and heat but permits natural light in. It has an openness factor for the size of the weave from 3 to 14 per cent, a larger weave allows in more sunlight. Solar blinds are expensive but require low maintenance, clean easily and do not fade.
A blackout blind actually reflects the sun's rays, which reduces the heat. The slat's interior side is made from polyester or fabric while heat reflecting Mylar is on the exterior side. You can choose the level of opacity from low to high to allow varied amounts of light in. Blackout shades are common in a nursery, child's room, a media room or any room that requires low light and increased privacy.
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