Stay Warm this Winter: Energy Efficiency Tips
All window treatments have energy saving properties, though some are inherently more efficient than others.
Last year, primary energy consumption in the United States rose slightly, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which projects that world energy consumption will grow by 28% by 2040. As energy demands increase, it’s important that homeowners find new ways to lessen the financial burden that growing energy demands entail. What we’re talking about is everyone’s favorite topic – How can I be more energy efficient?
Step 1: Identify Energy Waste in the Home
Average residential energy usage can be broken down accordingly: Heating 41%, Appliances/Electronics/Lighting 35%, Water Heating 18% and Air Conditioning 6%
With winter right around the corner, the cost of heating is on every homeowner’s mind. But outside of turning off the heat and huddling for warmth under a mountain of blankets, what are your options? Well, let’s start with one of the biggest energy wasters in any home, your windows.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), windows account for 25-40% of our annual heating and cooling costs. Heat always travels through the path of least resistance and, in the case of your home, that’s your windows. During the summer, heat finds its way into your home, making your air conditioner work extra hard to keep you cool. In the winter, heat does the opposite, escaping through your windows and wasting energy.
Step 2: Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows
There are simple ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home without replacing older, inefficient windows. As the old adage goes – work smarter, not harder.
- You can minimize air leaks and drafts using weather stripping and caulking. This is a quick and affordable solution that can help create a tighter seal when your windows are closed. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that weather stripping and caulking will pay for themselves in one year through lower utility costs.
- Another cost-effective solution is the use of plastic insulation kits. These kits help create a pocket of inert air, which is a poor heat conductor. While cheap and effective, plastic insulation kits are not visually pleasing and, thus, not ideal for high traffic areas such as living rooms, dining rooms, or even bedrooms.
- Finally, new window treatments could be just what the doctor ordered. According to the DOE, “window coverings—blinds, shades, curtains, and awnings— could save significant energy at low cost.” All window treatments have energy saving properties, though some are inherently more efficient than others.
"Sealing air leaks around your home and adding insulation can help your home be more comfortable and energy efficient and provide up to a 10% savings on your annual energy bills. "
Our Recommendation: Honeycomb Shades
Honeycomb Shades are an excellent choice if you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home. A standard double-pane window has an R-value – a measure of an object’s ability to resist heat loss- of 1.16. However, a window with Honeycomb Shades has an R-value as high as 5.51. The higher the R-value, the better the object is at resisting heat loss. So, what makes these window treatments so energy efficient?
“Cellular Shades (aka Honeycomb Shades) also act as insulation, protecting your home from cold and heat with their energy-saving honeycomb design,” says interior designer Lisa Scheff.
Because inert air is a poor conductor of heat, the unique construction of Honeycomb Shades helps minimize heat loss, keeping the warm air where you need it most this winter – in your home. These insulating pockets (honeycombs or cells) of air can actually help slow the transfer of heat by as much as 55-65%.Explore Honeycomb Shades