Window Treatments for the Winter in Michigan

Use window coverings to keep the heat where you want it!

Energy saving window coverings can cut your home heating and cooling costs in a number of ways. They block the sun out in summer (when sunlight turns into unwanted heat), and allow sunlight in during the winter (when you want the solar heating). They improve insulatiion – creating an extra layer of still air between your windows and the indoors, cutting heat transfer in both hot and cold weather. And they control the amount of light coming in, so you can take advantage of natural lighting where possible, without at the same time losing heat to the outdoors in winter, or overheating the room on hot summer days.

Types of energy efficient window coverings

Fitted window coverings. These energy saving window coverings create a dead air space between themselves and the window glass, significantly increasing the insulation value of the window covering, compared to window coverings with free airflow between the covering and the window.

ENERGY STAR window coverings: Window treatments are not part of the ENERGY STAR efficiency rating program, so you will not find any ENERGY STAR ratings on treatments such as curtains, blinds, awnings, or other window treatments. So use this page to find the most energy saving window coverings for your home.

Insulation R values of energy saving window coverings: Standard blinds and curtains have an insulating value of only R-1. Energy saving window coverings with an insulation layer, for example honeycomb blinds or curtains with an insulating lining, can have insulating values of up to R6. Rigid foam panels custom cut to the size of a window opening in a basement or other infrequently used room can have R-values up to the R-value of the panel itself. For example, my parents use a 2-inch thick layer of pink foam panels as the energy saving window coverings on the basement windows of their winterized cottage, giving an insulation value of R-8. It is not the most attractive energy saving window treatment but given that no one spends much time in the basement in winter the savings more than make up for the aesthetic impact.

Awnings and overhangs: These energy saving window coverings prevent hot summer sunlight from even striking the outside of your windows, while allowing the lower-angled winter sun into your home where the sunlight is converted to heat. Canvas awnings not only reduce the solar heat gain through a window in hot weather, but offer protection from sun and light rain when you are sitting out on a patio or deck covered with the awning.

Light-colored energy saving window coverings, whether inside or outside the windows, reflect sunlight and prevent it from heating up your home in the summer. These window treatments can be opened on colder days to allow solar energy to warm your home.

Some energy saving window coverings provide a layer of insulation, which prevents convection currents from carrying the room air past the window glass. If you use energy saving window coverings that cut down on convection, you can avoid heat transfer between the room and the outside, whether in summer or winter. The insulation value of energy saving window coverings can vary from none whatsoever to over R-10 for thick, custom-made rigid foam inserts.

Mesh window screens not only keep out unwanted insects in summer, but diffuse the sunlight entering your house, especially on east and west facing windows, reducing heat gain in summer. However, their effect on heat transfer is small enough that it’s a stretch to call them energy saving window coverings.

Where do your windows face? You’ll get the hottest light from west-facing windows so if you’re trying to keep your house cool, be sure to either use highly reflective energy saving window coverings, an awning, or energy-saving window film.

Remember to plan for natural lighting – so you can save on lighting costs as well as heating and cooling. South-facing windows provide the best natural light, so energy saving window coverings that reflect infrared radiation but allow some visible spectrum light in are the best.

Combine several kinds of energy saving window coverings to get the most energy efficient window treatments possible. For example, try putting exterior shutters on windows that have energy saving curtains, and you’ll get the benefit of both energy saving window coverings.

Remember that while energy savings, shade and privacy, are all excellent criteria for selecting window treatments, you should consider aesthetic issues as well.


 If you would like more information about blinds, shades, shutters, or other window treatments in Michigan call Perfect View Blinds at (248) 879-2244.

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