Fifty percent.

That’s how much of our intentionally warm or cool air can escape through a home’s windows. In the winter months, warm air escapes from the interior of our homes to the outside through windows. In the summer, the heat outside flows into our homes through those same windows.

“Think of glass as a conductor,” says Sherry Moore, co-owner of Budget Blinds Northland & Kansas City. “When we put a casserole in the oven, we have to use potholders to remove it because it’s too hot to handle. When we want an ice cold beer, we often serve it in a frosty mug. That’s because glass isn’t meant to insulate. Bare windows conduct hot and cold, which is detrimental to the energy efficiency of our homes.”

Window treatments can prevent as much as 25 percent winter heat loss or reduce summer heat gain by 33 percent. Window treatments that provide insulation can reduce energy consumption, save on heating and cooling costs, and create a more comfortable atmosphere.

“While almost all window treatments have some energy saving benefits, there are some options that are better than others,” says Moore. “A slatted blind isn’t as good as a shade that covers the entire window, for example, and neither of those is as energy efficient as drapery with a liner, drawn to the closed position.

Some window treatments, such as Duette Architella honeycomb shades, are federally recognized as energy-efficient products. Honeycomb shades are so efficient they can reduce energy costs by 50 percent,” says Moore. The Duette shade uses three distinct air pockets to trap cold air in the winter and heat from the sun in the summer, which results in lower energy bills.

Moore says it’s important to assess each window in a home individually, not only for practical reasons but also for aesthetics.

“We might want drapery in the bedroom but something simpler in the kitchen, for example,” she says. “We talk with the homeowner to find what issues they may be facing and also what look will best reflect their design style. It’s important to know what direction each room faces to determine how much light and sun the room receives before deciding how to treat a window. Different rooms require different solutions.”

In addition to choosing the right window treatment, homeowners can caulk around basement and storm windows and keep windows locked. Opening window coverings during sunny winter days will help catch free solar heat, and closing coverings at night helps to retain that heat. Conversely, closing window coverings during summer days keeps the heat out.

“There are options for every window and every design sense,” says Moore. “The most important thing to remember is that any window treatment is better than a bare window.”

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