Pleated or Cellular Shades

Several manufacturers have designed two- or three-cell pleated or cellular shades with dead air spaces, which increase their insulating value. These shades, however, provide only slight control of air infiltration.

Shutters

Window shutters—both interior and exterior—can help reduce heat gain and loss in your home.

Interior shutters need a clear space to the side of the window when they're opened. They also require hardware that is fastened to the window jams or trim. Properly designed exterior shutters may provide the best possible window insulation system. They offer several advantages:

  • Weather protection
  • Added security
  • No use of interior space
  • No thermal shock to windows if left closed.


Exterior shutters must be integrated into your home's architecture. Their mounting, drainage, and hinging will require special consideration, and it's easier to address these design issues in new construction.

Most exterior shutter systems include a mechanical crank, rod, or motor to allow operation from indoors. This can help encourage daily use of the shutters, and may be required by local fire codes.

Roll-down metal exterior shutters are often used as protection against storms and/or vandalism. While metal shutters provide protection against these hazards, they don't provide much of a barrier against air infiltration and heat.

Like window blinds, louvered shutters work best for summer shading. Movable or fixed louvers allow ventilation and natural daylight to enter a room while blocking some direct radiation. However, they won't provide much insulation against heat loss in the winter.

Solid shutters will decrease both heat loss and summer heat gain. These insulating shutters consist of wood panels, a vapor barrier, and sometimes a decorative covering. If you fit them tightly against a window frame, they'll provide an insulating air space between the shutter and the window.

You can combine shutters with other window treatments such as draperies for greater insulating ability.

Shades

When properly installed, window shades can be one of the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy.

Shades should be mounted as close to the glass as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space. You should lower shades on sunlit windows in the summer. Shades on the south side of a house should be raised in the winter during the day, then lowered during the night.

For greater efficiency, use dual shades—highly reflective (white) on one side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side—that can be reversed with the seasons. The reflective surface should always face the warmest side—outward during the cooling season and inward during the heating season, and they need to be drawn all day to be effective.

Quilted roller shades and some types of Roman shades feature several layers of fiber batting and sealed edges. These shades act as both insulation and air barrier, and control air infiltration more effectively than other soft window treatments.

Energy Efficient