What Are the Best Insulating Window Treatments for a Period Property?

April 16, 2024

When it comes to insulating period properties, the choice of window treatments can make a significant difference. This doesn’t only concern the aesthetic aspect, but it also has a huge impact on the property’s overall energy efficiency. Being mindful of your window treatments can enhance the insulation of your windows, save you a pretty penny on energy bills, and also significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

Let’s delve into the best insulating window treatments that will not only allow you to preserve the charm and authenticity of your period property but also provide an efficient energy solution.

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Energy Efficient Window Coverings

Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about energy efficiency, the right window coverings can considerably improve the insulation of your homes. Coverings like shades, blinds, curtains, and shutters can effectively control the amount of light and heat that enters and exits through your windows. This, in turn, reduces the need for artificial light and heating or air conditioning.

A good window covering provides a barrier between the window and the room, thus reducing heat exchange. However, different coverings will offer varying levels of insulation. Let’s take a closer look at the most energy-efficient options.

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Shades: Combining Style and Energy Efficiency

Shades are one of the most effective insulating window treatments and come in a variety of styles, making them an ideal choice for period properties. Roller shades made from insulating materials such as woven wood, honeycomb fabric, or blackout materials can be a brilliant option.

When properly installed, shades can create a sealed air space in front of the window, reducing both heat gain and loss. During the day, lower your shades on sunlit windows to prevent solar heat gain. At night or during cold weather, raise them to let in the warmth.

Blinds: Control Light and Heat

Blinds, a popular window covering option, provide you with more control over the amount of light and heat that enters your room. They offer a combination of insulation and adjustable light control.

Whether vertical or horizontal, blinds’ slats can be adjusted to control light and ventilation. When completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%. They’re also useful in the winter as, depending on their position, they can direct incoming sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling, which diffuses the light without much heat or glare.

Curtains and Drapes: A Classic Option

Curtains and drapes can bring timeless elegance to period homes and also provide a layer of insulation. The level of insulation, however, can vary significantly depending on the fabric type, color, and whether a liner is used.

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to opt for thicker fabrics (such as velvet, suede, or tapestry) with a thermal lining for maximum insulation. In summer, light-colored curtains reflect the sun, while in winter, darker curtains can absorb heat. Moreover, curtains hung close to the window, falling onto a windowsill or floor, will provide the best insulation and draft exclusion.

Window Shutters: Aesthetic and Practical

Window shutters are a more permanent window treatment option that can significantly improve your period property’s energy efficiency. They provide an extra layer of insulation by creating a solid barrier between the window and the room, and are particularly effective at reducing heat loss in winter.

Shutters can be made from various materials such as wood, vinyl, or composite. While wood shutters are a classic choice, composite shutters are known for their excellent insulation properties. They’re also resistant to weathering, making them a durable option.

Energy-Audits for Credit and Rebates

If you’re unsure about how efficient your window treatments are or if you’re considering upgrading, an energy audit could be beneficial. This process will assess the energy efficiency of your home and identify areas that could be improved. Furthermore, upgrading your window treatments to more energy-efficient options could qualify you for tax credits or rebates, making the initial investment more affordable.

With the right window treatments, your period property can maintain its charm while becoming more energy-efficient. Remember that ideal window treatments depend on your specific needs and the unique features of your period property. Keep this guide in mind when shopping for window treatments and make an informed decision that benefits your home, wallet, and the environment.

Cellular Shades: The Ultimate Energy-Saver

Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, are a standout in the world of window coverings when it comes to energy efficiency. These shades are specifically designed with small pockets or ‘cells’ that trap air, creating a layer of insulation against your windows. The trapped air acts as a buffer against the outdoor temperatures, preventing the heat or cold from entering your period property.

These shades are available in single, double, or even triple cell designs, with the latter being the most insulating due to its additional air pockets. The variety of cell sizes and styles make them adaptable to various window sizes and suitable for different aesthetics. Furthermore, they come in a range of fabric choices, including blackout and light filtering options.

Cellular shades provide excellent light control, with the top-down/bottom-up feature allowing you to let in light from the top while maintaining privacy below. This makes them a versatile window treatment, providing both energy efficiency and functional light control. However, for optimal insulation, ensure these shades are installed as close as possible to the window frame to reduce any potential heat leakage.

Roman Shades and Plantation Shutters: Blending Tradition and Efficiency

For those seeking a blend of traditional style and energy efficiency, roman shades and plantation shutters are excellent options.

Roman shades are fabric window coverings that elegantly fold into themselves when raised, providing a soft, draped appearance. When tailored from thick, insulating materials and combined with a thermal liner, roman shades can be highly energy efficient. They can block out light effectively and offer good insulation, particularly when mounted on the window frame to minimize gaps where heat could escape.

Plantation shutters, on the other hand, are interior shutters with wide louvers. They are permanently installed into the window frame, which provides excellent insulating properties. The hunter douglas shutters, for instance, provide a timeless appeal to period properties. The adjustable louvers allow you to control light and ventilation. Like cellular shades, the wood or faux-wood material of plantation shutters provides an added layer of insulation, thereby reducing heat transfer.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Energy-Saving Window Treatment

All things considered, the best insulating window treatments for your period property depend largely on your specific needs and aesthetic preferences. Whether it’s the elegance of curtains and drapes, the minimalist charm of roller blinds and shades, or the traditional appeal of shutters, every option has its unique benefits.

Remember that the key to energy efficiency lies not just in the type of window covering, but also in how it’s installed and used. Make sure your window treatments fit well within your window frame to prevent air leakage. Consider your facing windows’ exposure to sunlight and adjust your treatments accordingly to block or allow heat.

By investing in energy-saving window treatments, you won’t just enhance the visual appeal of your period property, but also contribute to a more sustainable future. Energy efficiency is not only about reducing energy bills – it’s about preserving our environment. As such, take advantage of any available rebates or tax credits when investing in these upgrades.

In the end, the ‘best’ window treatment is one that fits your property’s character, suits your lifestyle, and aligns with your energy efficiency goals.