Saving $$ on Conserving Energy and Preventing UV Damage

How to Protect Against Damage from the Sun on Furnishings and Draperies by Using the Best Energy Efficient Window Treatments

The saying goes that when The Lord closes a door He opens a window.  Well, that might be great for life’s opportunities but it really can put a hurtin’ on your energy bills, not to mention the comfort of your home!

Every month I receive a report from Google that shows all the terms that people used to search that resulted in them ending up on this blog site.  Month after month there are two search themes that repeat themselves again and again: #1 is how to protect against damage from the sun on furnishings and draperies and a very close #2 is energy efficient window treatments.

Duette-honeycomb-shadesBetween window manufacturers and window film manufacturers, there is no shortage of people out there trying to convince you that you can block the heat and UV rays invading your home by purchasing their products.  The truth is: glass is glass.  It is not bricks and mortar.  It is NEVER going protect your home like studs and insulation.  I’m always saddened by the number of people that spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars replacing windows or adding film to them because someone convinced them that it would stop the effects of the sun. Give it up!  It’s not going to happen.  It might reduce the UV intensity slightly but not enough to stop fading and heat gain or loss.  But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.  Let’s first look at those windows, where they are and what you can do about preventing the problem in the first place. 

If you are Considering Remodeling or Building a New Home, Look Carefully at the Floor Plan and the Placement of the Windows

Architects and home designers place windows based upon their effect on the outside elevation of the house.  Few, if any, give thought to how the placement of those windows are going to effect the energy efficiency…or lack thereof.  If you absolutely cannot live without that arch above a window then place it above a window on the north side of the home.  You’ll get the natural light, the architectural element you’re looking for yet at the same time minimize the amount of exposure to UV that you’ll have to contend with.  Notice I mentioned UV not heat loss.  You’ll still get heat loss through the glass but that northern exposure will minimize heat gain during the warmest months of the year when air conditioning costs can really add up.

The most efficient way to make your home more comfortable and to prevent heat loss or heat gain is to prevent it in the first place.  By blocking the entrance of heat you prevent the A/C from running constantly to cool the room.  Conversely, once you’ve heated the room, stop the heat from escaping through the path of least resistance:  The windows.

Products such as Hunter Douglas’ Duette Architella Honeycomb shades not only will eliminate much of the heat loss/gain that is associated with windows but will actually add an R factor to those windows.  In some opacities you will get up to an R-8 protection factor against loss or gain.  By forming three pockets of air within the honeycomb structure, the “honeycomb within a honeycomb” beautifully insulates your room and saves you significant energy costs.  These products are so efficient that they qualify for the Federal Energy Tax Credit.  (see our store for details on qualifying products and mounting).

Another way to protect against throwing money out the window is insulated draperies.  By applying an interlining layer between the fashion fabric and the lining significant savings can be found not only enhancing your wallet but also the comfort of your room!  Our window fashion consultants can assist you in finding the right product or combination of products to achieve your goals.

OK, let’s move on to the #1 searched topic.  “Protecting from sun/UV damage.”

silhouette_easyrise_livingroom_11The only sure-fire way to protect your furnishings, flooring, rugs and artwork is to STOP the UV rays from entering your home.  Two or three years ago we worked with a couple in Columbus that wanted to gain some privacy for their lower level TV room.  They spent a considerable sum to be able to control the light, adjust the privacy to their needs and bring a beautiful fashion statement to the room.  So what’s the problem?  When you went upstairs to the main floor of the home there was a wall of windows (yes the view was beautiful) and 3-4 skylights.  The room was flooded with beautiful, natural light.  On their walls they had a collection of original artwork!  YIKES!  When I asked how they were going to protect that they said they upgraded the windows to protect against UV.  Fast forward to last fall.  The couple needed to do a bit of rearranging and in the process happened to move one of the pieces of artwork.  Much to their surprise (not mine) the paint around the artwork had faded significantly!  If the wall paint was fading what was happening to their priceless artwork?  They immediately called us to provide motorized/programmable treatments, Duette Skyrise shades, for the skylights.  Despite all the education and the example before them they still declined to treat the wall of windows!  That’s OK, they’ll be back the next time they move a rug or sofa cushion.

Here is an easy test for UV exposure and effects.  Take a sheet of construction paper.  Yes, it’s the stuff we used in kindergarten to make chains and other projects. ( I can still smell that disgusting paste they made us use!)  Why construction paper you ask?  We suggest construction paper because it tends to give up color more rapidly than your furnishings thus you’ll get an accelerated picture of whether you have a problem with UV exposure or not.  Take one corner of the construction paper and turn it down and crease the edge so it stays laying over the rest of the paper.  Now take this page and place it on a table in your room.  You don’t have to put it right in the window.  A few feet away or even in the center of the room will do.  Now just forget it!  The next time you clean that room take the paper up and open back the corner you turned down.  What do you see?  If you can see a fairly clear image of where the corner was folded over then you need to be concerned about what is happening to your furnishings!

My niece built a huge home in Albany, N.Y..  She invested in all new furniture for her great room and set it up to enjoy the two stories of windows she had overlooking her back yard.  When I mentioned she really should install window coverings to protect her new sofa she looked at me like I had three heads!  “I don’t want to cover up the view I have”.  Fast forward about 6 months, the remote is missing and an all-out search is underway.  When in desperation they finally went diving under the sofa cushions not only did they find the TV remote they also found that brand new sofa had faded.  Significantly!  This is point that I have to confess to thinking “I told you so”.

You don’t have to cover up your view to protect your furnishings.  We have window fashions that will allow you to have your view and yet filter out up to 88% of the damaging UV rays that enter via those portals to the world!  Hunter Douglas Silhouette and Nantucket Window Shadings are designed with an adjustable s-shaped vane that is suspended between two layers of sheer fabric.  When the vanes are open your view is visible yet protected by the sheer fabrics.  Need more privacy or light control?  Simply adjust the vanes!  Better still when the sun is not an issue these shadings completely roll up into their sleek head rail!  Voila!

You’re preachin’ to the choir when you say “I don’t want to cover up my beautiful windows/view” but there are choices that you have to make to have the best of both worlds.  We’re happy to spend the time with you to show you all the options that are available.

Now grab that paste from your three-year-old before he starts eating it like Eddie did in Kindergarten and get down to Home Source in Worthington, Ohio!