Here on the Southeast Atlantic coast, Savannah has a summer advantage over inland cities like Atlanta, Augusta and Macon. But as nice as it would be to get an ocean breeze every day through the hot months, on some days all windows seem to be good for is letting in the hot sun. Fortunately, savvy homeowners can use window treatments and coverings to keep their homes cool and their A/C costs low, and there are more options than you’ve ever considered. Here are some window treatments and coverings to think about:
Slat-type blinds are a good way to reduce the amount of direct sunlight coming in through your windows without restricting airflow. Closed, lowered reflective blinds can reduce solar heat gain by about 45 percent, although they don’t provide any insulating properties. Blinds can also be adjusted to reflect sunlight onto light-colored ceilings, producing a diffuse natural light for your room.
Exterior blinds, made of weather-resistant wood, aluminum or vinyl, also can be installed to save space indoors – perhaps to make space for additional window treatments and coverings. They function in the same way as indoor blinds, allowing the homeowner to adjust how much air and light to let in.
A simple and effective treatment to save energy, shades can be installed close to the glass and the windowframe, creating an insulating pocket of air to prevent heat transfer with the outside. Shades on windows that receive direct sunlight in the summer are highly effective at reducing solar heat gain.
Dual shades offer a heat-reflecting white surface on one side and a heat-absorbing black surface on the other, which can be reversed as the seasons change and priorities shift from keeping heat out to keeping heat in.
Curtains and Drapes
With such a wide range of curtains and draperies to choose from, both in style and in material, it’s hard to generalize about how well curtains work as energy-saving window treatments and coverings. But it’s also easy to customize your curtains to work both from an aesthetic and an energy-saving perspective.
Light curtains with reflective plastic backings, for example, can cut direct solar heat gain by a third, and blackout curtains can prevent sunlight from infiltrating indoors. Insulated curtains prevent heat gain and loss, and not just from direct sunlight.
Curtains can be attached to the window frame and windowsill with velcro, magnetic tape or other attachments to create an insulating pocket of air, for even more protection. This can reduce heat transfer between the indoors and outdoors by up to 25 percent.
Awnings prevent solar heat gain by providing shade to windows and doors. South- and west-facing windows receive the most benefits, with sun exposure on south-facing windows dropping by up to 65 percent and heat gain on west-facing windows dropping by up to 77 percent. However, awnings do require some form of ventilation to prevent hot air from being trapped beneath the awning material, or the hot air trapped next to the windows and doors can cause additional heat transfer.
Awnings come in a variety of materials, from traditional canvas to modern synthetic fibers. Awnings can even be constructed out of solar panels, generating electricity for your home as well as keeping windows cool.
Reflective Window Films
Reflective films can be installed on windows to deflect direct sunlight. This treatment works best in hot climates like Georgia’s, where the benefit of heat gain in winter doesn’t compare to the problem of heat gain in summer. East and west windows, which experience the most heat gain from the rising and setting suns, benefit most.
Storm panels can be installed inside or outside, and do more than offer protection from the Atlantic weather: they can prevent heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Both interior and exterior panels can be put up and taken down as the seasons change, though exterior panels generally have to be custom-sized for your window, and may require professional installation.
What Window Treatments and Coverings Work Best for Your Home?
To learn more about keeping your Savannah area home cool this summer through window treatments and coverings, contact us today at Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning.
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