WINTER IS COMING
Keep your house warmer with efficient window coverings
IN AN AGE OF HEIGHTENED AWARENESS ABOUT ENERGY
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