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Keep your house warmer with ef­fi­cient win­dow cov­er­ings


EF­FI­CIENCY, the se­lec­tion of win­dow treat­ments is be­com­ing an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for home­own­ers.

A high per­cent­age of a house’s heat­ing and cool­ing en­ergy can be lost through the win­dows, par­tic­u­larly to­day when many sin­gle-fam­ily homes and con­do­mini­ums are fea­tur­ing larger win­dows.

“Con­sumers ab­so­lutely buy win­dow cov­er­ings for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency,” says Sue Rainville, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing for the Cana­dian di­vi­sion of Hunter Dou­glas. “It is one of the key el­e­ments to con­sider when mak­ing this pur­chase.”

Win­dow cov­er­ings of­fer in­su­la­tion in win­ter months as heat from homes es­capes to the out­doors through the win­dows as well as in the sum­mer as out­side heat flows into the home.

“With win­dow treat­ments that pro­vide in­su­la­tion, con­sumers can re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion, save on heat­ing and cool­ing costs, and cre­ate a more com­fort­able at­mos­phere,” says Ms. Rainville, adding that many Hunter Dou­glas win­dow fash­ions help to con­trol so­lar heat by al­low­ing it into the home in the win­ter and min­i­miz­ing the amount that comes in dur­ing the sum­mer.

An­other en­ergy sav­ings is the con­cept of day­light­ing, which is the prac­tice of light­ing rooms with nat­u­ral light rather than ar­ti­fi­cial light. By draw­ing nat­u­ral light into a room, many win­dow treat­ments re­duce the need for other types of light­ing, thereby re­duc­ing en­ergy use. In an older home, the ba­sic need to in­su­late at the win­dow to keep the cold out in the win­ter and the cool in dur­ing the sum­mer is crit­i­cal.

“Any­body knows from hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence that if you have blinds or win­dow treat­ments of some kind whether they’re cur­tains or shut­ters, that they will keep the house cool if you have them closed on a hot sum­mer day when you’re get­ting a lot of di­rect light­ing and when it’s cold they keep heat in,” says Ch­eryl Atkin­son, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at the De­part­ment of Ar­chi­tec­tural Science at Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity.

“Win­dows are part of the house that have the least ther­mal re­sis­tance, typ­i­cally. Un­less you have triple-glaze win­dows, your win­dows have way less in­su­lated value than any other part of your wall. … Win­dows have got­ten a lot big­ger than they used to be and so that’s an is­sue as well. We all have huge win­dows in con­dos … We should be more cog­nizant of it, but I think peo­ple aren’t par­tic­u­larly cog­nizant of the en­ergy im­pacts.”

So, if home­own­ers are look­ing at sav­ing en­ergy in their houses, what are some of the things they should con­sider?

“They can con­sider a prod­uct with a hon­ey­comb cel­lu­lar con­struc- tion called Duette for max­i­mum en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. The in­no­va­tive con­struc­tion traps the air into the cell. Al­ter­na­tively, a black­out or opaque blind found in Sil­hou­ette Duo­lite will also pro­vide pro­tec­tion against heat or cool loss,” says Ms. Rainville.

“At Hunter Dou­glas, we’re an in­dus­try leader in mak­ing a big en­ergy sav­ings dif­fer­ence at the win­dow. In 1985, we in­vented the highly en­ergy-ef­fi­cient Duette hon­ey­comb shades in re­sponse to the en­ergy cri­sis of the late 1970s. Our lat­est in­no­va­tion is the Duette Ar­chitella hon­ey­comb fab­ric, fea­tur­ing a hon­ey­comb-within-a-hon­ey­comb de­sign for even greater en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. To­day, we con­tinue to think about the im­pact all of our win­dow fash­ions can make. With­out en­ergy-ef­fi­cient win­dow treat­ments, as much as 50 per cent of a home’s heat­ing and cool­ing en­ergy can be lost through its win­dows. The max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency will be gained by the Duette Ar­chitella Opaque prod­uct that in­cludes a dou­ble cell with a my­lar core to keep the heat or cool out.”

Shelley Alex­a­nian, spokesper­son for fam­ily-owned Alex­a­nian Floor­ing, which also op­er­ates a flag­ship show­room Sig­na­ture by Shelley Alex­a­nian in the De­sign Dis­trict in Toronto, says the push for en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient win­dow treat­ments has be­come hugely im­por­tant to home­own­ers, es­pe­cially since the 1980s when there was so much fo­cus on the trend.

“It was sort of their re­sponse to the late 1970s with the big en­ergy cri­sis. … En­ergy-ef­fi­ciency is big, es­pe­cially in Canada with the change of cli­mate,” says Ms. Alex­a­nian, ex­plain­ing that one of the com­pany’s big­gest mar­kets to­day is the ex­plod­ing condo mar­ket in Toronto.

There are many op­tions when it comes to win­dow cov­er­ings. There are also roller blinds to­day that are pow­er­ized that come in hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent tex­tures and more than 100 shades of white.

“There’s a huge trend right now just with the ba­sic roller shade be­cause of the func­tion, the ease of con­trol, and it’s a very clean line, un­clut­tered look. They can al­low dif­fer­ent lev­els of sun­light to come in and dif­fer­ent dark­ness and dif­fer­ent lev­els of pri­vacy,” says Ms. Alex­a­nian.

“And they need to pro­vide the am­biance and char­ac­ter for the style of the space as well.”

Con­sider a prod­uct with a hon­ey­comb cel­lu­lar con­struc­tion called Duette for max­i­mum en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. Sue Rainville Hunter Dou­glas

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