Solar Shades are the hands-down window treatment choice for reducing your home’s energy usage. We all know that they look beautiful, but what can they really do for your carbon footprint or your financial bottom line?
Solar screen shades make your home more energy efficient in two ways
Reduced cooling costs
Solar shade fabric is manufactured with precision… both the weave and the content are important to their performance! The yarns themselves reduce both visual and heat energy from the sun at your window, absorbing some of that energy and reflecting some. The amount of empty space between the yarns allows a small amount of the light to pass through, which allows you to be able to see through them, which is the magical part. Ok, not magic but science. The percentage of the fabric that is open (also called it’s density factor) also determines how much of the harmful UV radiation can pass through, and while this does not affect how much your home heats us, it definitely affects how much your furniture or flooring fades, or how much damage is done to your skin and eyes.
Cooling costs, which energy.gov says add up to 6% of our home energy usage, are lowered because a significant amount of the heat never makes it into the room (that amount varies by the color of the fabric), and that is where your reduced cooling costs come from. That makes a lot of sense, right? But what is the second way?
More daylight means reduced artificial lighting needs
In the building industry, “daylighting” is a term used to describe harvesting, or taking advantage of natural light. Allowing natural light into an interior means less artificial light is needed. According to energy.gov, lighting your space accounts for 5% of our home energy usage, even with our more efficient lighting types today. Some lighting sources still generate heat, too, so using less artificial illumination will also help to keep room temperatures comfortable in addition to using less electricity directly. On a dark, cloudy day, you can roll up your solar shades all the way or just part of the way to enhance the amount of daylight in your space. Both daylighting and having a view to the outside have many recognized side benefits related to human satisfaction and wellness, which is a nice way of saying solar shades can make you feel better!
There’s more to gain in winter, too
Because solar shades are retractable, you can take advantage of passive solar warming for your home in the winter. Window tints and other static types of window glare control won’t allow you to do that, so that’s another way solar shades can save you energy and money with their versatility.
The benefits of solar shades add up!
Solar shades can save you money in a number of ways, and go beyond weatherstripping and recycling to shrink your carbon footprint. We really should think of them as window enhancements, almost rather than “coverings”. We should think of them as a tool in our home efficiency toolbelt, like attic insulation or EnergyStar appliances. They won’t provide nighttime privacy, but they can be part of a dual shade system for that need, or paired with draperies if nighttime privacy is needed. No other window shade can provide you with the energy and quality of life benefits that solar shades can: heat reduction, glare reduction, UV reduction and a view to the outside!