Passive solar design involves orienting your home towards the winter sun to maximize your natural energy gain. However, even if your home was not designed with passive solar heating in mind, there are several window treatments that you can apply to help you save energy during winter and summer. This include installing awnings or applying reflective film to your windows. Of all of your options, new draperies are often the easiest and cheapest to install. Knowing which draperies to select and how to use them can make a large difference in your heating and cooling bills. Read this article to learn more.
Install Double-Cell Shades Behind Your Draperies
Double-cell window shades are great insulators because they hold warm air in their cells, creating a buffer zone that keeps the inside temperature even. To use these shades, you would lower them at night during the cooler months to keep heat in your home. However, during the summer you would lower them during the day to keep your house cool.
Blinds, shutters, and rigid-foam panels can also provide an insulating layer against your window, but blinds and shutters offer a lower insulation value, while rigid-foam panels tend to be difficult to remove on a daily basis.
Select the Right Drapery Length
For your draperies to fully insulate your room, they should create a light seal around your window. If you have floor-length windows, slightly pooling draperies will be your best option. If you have a window with a deep sill, you will want draperies that rest on the sill or full-length draperies that are installed as closely to the wall as possible.
Layer Diffusing Drapes Behind Insulating Draperies
Sheer, light-diffusing draperies can help keep out harsh summer heat. These should be a quick option that you can pull when your home begins to overheat during the winter or summer. However, your most important draperies that you will use on a daily basis are your insulating draperies. These should be made of a durable, light-blocking material. If you have them custom made, you will want to consider adding an extra layer of cotton or wool to the center of the draperies to increase their insulating ability.
Know What Time of Day to Open and Close Your Draperies
For heating, you should open your draperies just after sunrise. You should keep them open all day, closing the light-diffusing draperies when necessary, and close the insulating draperies before sunset. Many passive solar users make the mistake of closing their draperies too late in the evening, and much of the heat they have accumulated in their home throughout the day escapes during the twilight hours.
For cooling, the draperies should remain closed throughout the day. You should open your insulating draperies to allow light in only when you are in a room, remembering to close them when you leave. You should open the draperies after the sun has set and the night air has cooled, usually 2-3 hours after sunset.
Know the Difference Between Summer Use and Winter Use
During the winter, you will use your draperies for heating, and during the summer, you will use them for cooling. It can take a few days to change your habits of opening and closing your draperies throughout the day. However, it is important that you stick to a schedule, as passive solar heating is a slow process, meant to be used throughout the day.
The right draperies can change the mood of your home, allow for proper lighting and privacy, and even help control your heating and cooling bills. It is important to take your time and consult an expert when you are selecting your draperies. Click here for more info.