Keep the Cool: Close the Blinds

Keep the Cool: Close the Blinds
Click image above for printable poster

Blinds, shades and draperies are a vital component of achieving energy efficiency in a home and at work.  They can block the sun’s heat from entering your home or office, raising the internal temperature, a phenomenon known as heat gain.  Shading windows in the summer can greatly reduce overheating your building and cut air conditioning bills or eliminate the need for air conditioning in some cases.  How much can heat gain be reduced?  With highly reflective blinds, you can reduce heat gain from windows up to 45 percent.  Shades are an even better option because they control air infiltration as well as heat gains from the sun. 

What is the difference between a blind and a shade? A blind has vertical or horizontal sections that can be manually rotated to let in light.  A shade, on the other hand, is one piece that covers the window completely.  Shades are usually made out of some sort of cloth, while blinds tend to be plastic or wood.  To maximize the efficiency and savings you can get from shades, make sure to get dual-sided styles.  By facing the reflective side outside, you can deflect the incoming heat.  For other window treatment ideas to save you energy at home and at work, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s page here.

Other Tips:

When it comes to utilizing shade as an energy saver, you may have more options at home than at work.  For example, you may not be able to plant a tree at your office to save money but you certainly can if you own your own house.  How can planting a tree help save you money?  Trees create shade if strategically planted on the east and west sides of your house, thus blocking the sun’s heat from entering your home.  A little landscaping can add up to 35 percent in savings on your summer cooling bill.  For more tips and additional information on strategic tree planting, visit http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-window-treatments or http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/tree-planting-tips-47072203.

South-facing windows benefit from overhangs to block heat gain from the high summer sun.  Sunscreens, which fit on the exterior of your windows, are another energy-friendly option.  They do the shading on the outside, which is most effective, and they can block up to 90 percent of the sunlight that would otherwise come through your windows even with interior shades or blinds.