Energy-saving, blackout, and thermal curtains have been around since the 1930s. But modern scientific data – consisting of thermal images from infrared cameras – show that energy-saving curtains can make a significant difference in keeping your home warm in winter and cool in the summer. And, they can help save energy if you choose the right kind and install and maintain them properly.
A major source of winter heat loss occurs in your home through your windows. Window manufacturers measure this heat loss as the window’s R-value. The higher the R-value, the less heat is lost, and the better the window is at maintaining the indoor temperature. When installed and maintained properly, energy-saving curtains have the potential to increase your window’s R-value by preventing additional heat loss in winter, and by keeping heat out in summer.
Energy-saving curtains usually mount to the wall on a rod above your window’s molding or trim. Their length measures to the point just below the trim beneath the windowsill. Drapes, however, will hang from the same point above your window but extend beyond the windowsill to the floor. Most energy-saving curtains or drapes will feature a magnetic strip that holds the outside edge against the wall to prevent drafts and keep warm air from escaping. Likewise in summer, the magnetic strips keep cool air in the room and block the sun’s warmth from entering through the window.
In addition to maintaining your indoor room temperature, some energy-saving curtains consist of various layers of material that perform a variety of functions.
- The part of energy-saving curtains that is visible at first is the outer layer of decorative fabric. You may choose from fabrics in a variety of colors and textures to match your room’s décor.
- Behind the decorative fabric, you will also find a layer of reflective material – or film – that stops heat or cool air from penetrating the curtain in a process that is called thermal transfer. By halting thermal transfer, the room temperature remains virtually unaffected by the temperature of the window.
- Some energy-saving curtains also include a moisture barrier. This layer keeps the condensation that forms – as a result of the difference between the room temperature and the temperature of the window – from penetrating to the outer layer. It may also serve to absorb the moisture and prevent dripping that could damage wood trim and flooring.
- A number of energy-saving curtains include a changeable backing that is light-colored for summer (to reflect heat out) and dark-colored for winter (to absorb heat)
Along with proper installation and maintenance, opening and closing energy-saving curtains at certain times of day will enhance their value. Closing curtains in the winter at sundown will keep indoor heat from escaping, but opening them on south-facing windows during daylight hours will allow the sun’s rays to help warm your home. Likewise in summer, keeping curtains closed on north-facing windows during daylight hours will block the sun’s rays and allow your rooms to stay cooler. Additional benefits of energy-saving curtains include room darkening and noise dampening.
When you add it all up, energy-saving curtains may help lower your heating and cooling bills by encouraging the use of less energy. At Wieland Builders, we test every home for energy efficiency before we build it and again after completion. We always achieve a 5-star energy efficiency rating on every home we build. Our focus is on quality and customer care in building beautiful custom homes in communities in Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana, and Northern Kentucky. Call us today to find out what we can do for you: 513-860-4996.