Block the Heat, Not the View With Solar Shades
Solar shades help reduce glare, heat, and protect your furnishings from UV rays while maintaining your view of the beautiful outdoors.
Spring is finally here on the East Coast! We know, we know – the first day of spring was was back on March 20th, but let’s be honest; until the weather is consistently above 70 degrees, has spring really started? We didn’t think so either. But the temperature is finally on the rise, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s time to pack away those winter jackets, time to start sprucing up your yard for all of those backyard barbecues, and time to turn your attention from energy efficiency to…well, energy efficiency.
You see, energy efficiency is never ending. And, as always, we are going to focus our attention on – you guessed it – your windows. In the winter, window treatments help you save money by retaining heat. This is because insulating window treatments, like honeycomb shades, help create an extra barrier of protection. Windows by themselves are not terribly energy efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, windows account for 25-40% of your annual heating and cooling costs.
It comes down to heat flow: the transfer of heat energy from one place to another. Heat always travels from warm areas to cool ones, and the easiest way for heat to do this is through your windows – the path of least resistance. You see, the average exterior wall has an R-value of 13.8, while the average window only has an R-value of .9 to 3.0. R-value is a measure of a material’s ability to resist, or at least slow, the transfer of heat. Window treatments can increase a window’s R-value up to 5.00. This is because inert air is a poor conductor of heat. Honeycomb shades, and all of their insulating pockets of air, can actually help slow the transfer of heat by as much as 55-65%. But did you know that window treatments can also help improve your windows’ energy efficiency in the spring and summer?
Former President Harry S. Truman once famously said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Or you could go with the Next Day Blinds solution: just get better window treatments. Solar shades, for example, reflect solar heat to help keep your interior cooler. Over time, this could end up saving you some serious money on any energy costs.
- Solar Reflectance is the ratio of the amount of total solar energy, which is reflected outward by a glazing system to the amount of total solar energy falling on the glazing system.
- UV Transmittance is used as a rating to determine the product/ glazing effectiveness in guarding against UV degradation. This value is directly related to the openness factor of the solar protection material used.
- Solar Transmittance is the ratio of the amount of total solar energy allowed to pass through a glazing system to the amount of total solar energy falling on the glazing system.
Even More Great Benefits of Solar Shades
Solar Roller Shades and Solar Roman Shades and help reduce glare, heat, and protect your furnishings from UV rays while maintaining your view of the beautiful outdoors.
We touched on UV protection briefly above, but did you know that an uncovered windows only block 40–50% of incoming UV rays? And without proper protection, these rays, along with visible light and solar heat, can degrade materials, attacking their molecular structure. Exposure to UV radiation for extended periods of time can even damage your skin cells, leading to sunburn, premature wrinkling, and skin cancer. Solar shades, meanwhile, block 90-99% of harmful UV rays.
“These light and elegant shades block blinding sunlight yet let the good light through,” explains interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff.
Protect Your View
Solar shades reduce glare, while still allowing you to gaze out your window and take in the beauty of the great outdoors. “The material is usually a vinyl mesh which is available in varying degrees of ‘open-ness,’” explains interior designer Mike Strutt. “The more open they are, the more light they let in, and the more you can see through (both in and out).” The Openness Factor is expressed as a percentage (ranging from 1% to 10%), and indicates the quantity of light that the shade will let in. Fabrics with a higher Openness Factor will let in more light and provide a clearer view. Next Day Blinds solar shades are available in 1% (open), 3%, 4%, 5%, 10%.
“If you’ve got an amazing view, but your large windows bring in too much sunlight sometimes, rollers are the perfect solution,” says window treatment specialist Mary Lou Ralston.