After building a dream home, there are additional investments necessary such as landscaping, sod, furniture, major appliances and window treatments.
The world of window treatments is loaded with options, from awnings and blinds to shades and shutters. Learning the environmental and privacy benefits of each option will enable you to make a sound investment that will pay-off well into the future.
During cold Southeast Michigan winters, window treatments insulate against frigid temperatures. During our fabulous summers, they help keep high external temperatures controlled to maintain a comfortable interior temperature for your entire family. All year long, window treatments control light such as preventing a glare on a television or computer screen.
First up, here are the benefits of awnings and interior blinds.
Awnings can reduce the solar heat gain during summer months by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows according to the US Dept. of Energy. Choosing light-colored awnings allows for the reflection of even more sunlight. Awning selections abound in that you can use one to shade a single window or order a customized version that will shade the entire side of your dream home.
The awnings of yesteryear needed to be re-covered every five to seven years because they were constructed from metal or canvas. Today’s options are made from synthetic fabrics including acrylic and polyvinyl laminates which are water-repellent and pre-treated to resist mildew and fading. Regardless of the material, make you sure you choose fabric that is opaque and tightly woven. Again, a light-colored awning is best because it reflects more sunlight than dark hues.
To prevent hot air from becoming trapped around the window, awnings require ventilation. The grommets or other openings visible along the tops and sides of awnings provide this ventilation. Some even open to the sides or the top to ventilate hot air. A major benefit in awnings is their flexibility—you can roll up adjustable or retractable awnings during Southeast Michigan winters which enables the sun to warm the house. Lateral arms and other new hardware options make the process of retracting or rolling up rather easy.
Interior blinds are more effective at decreasing summer heat gain than winter heat loss, whether they are vertical or horizontal slats. The openings between the slats make it challenging to control the heat loss through interior window blinds, but offer flexibility during the summer months. Unlike shades which are a more static window treatment option, you can adjust interior blind slats to control light, privacy and ventilation. Consider that when interior blinds are completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, the US Dept. of Energy reports that highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%. In addition, they can be adjusted to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling. This is important because a light-colored ceiling will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.
Check back next week when we explore exterior blinds, draperies and shades.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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