Energy savings

SAVING ENERGY AT HOME

Awnings, blinds and shutters not only make your home look great, they can also help you save energy – and money!

In homes, energy-saving benefits can be achieved year-round. During winter, by helping to prevent heat loss through windows. In the summer, by reducing the need for air-conditioning. These benefits can be achieved whilst helping to create a comfortable living environment.

The energy-saving benefits of awnings, blinds and shutters will vary depending on many factors. These include the type and amount of glazing and of window coverings or shading, and what cooling or heating systems are used, as well as the costs of your energy bills and the location of your property. So, there are many factors to take into account.

So what about saving energy in winter?

In the colder climates, blinds and shutters act as an extra layer of insulation for windows, helping to reduce the loss of heat, saving energy and money whilst helping to keep your house comfortably warm. Research conducted by Glasgow’s Caledonian University has shown that a reflective roller blind is as effective as a pair of curtains in reducing heat loss on single glazed windows. Both reduced the amount of heat lost by 40% !

It’s all to do with U-values. The lower the U-value, the slower the heat loss through the material. So a material with a low U-value is a good insulator. Even with modern coated glazing, designed to retain heat in the winter, blinds and shutters can still offer an improvement in U-value.

The BMAA is in the process of developing an energy rating program that will provide consumers with information on the energy efficiency of window coverings and external sun shades.

What can you do?

Generally, the better insulating blinds are those which have thicker fabric, have reflective coatings, and have air gaps or pocket-like honeycomb fabrics. Blinds fitted in a pelmet box, a cassette or frame will improve insulation, as these reduce gaps around the extremities of the blind. Wooden or custom wood internal shutters are also good insulators, as are various types of external shutters.

For expert advice please contact your local BMAA member.

What about saving energy in the summer?

Hotter summers and better insulated homes mean that the sun’s rays enter through the windows, then become trapped in the home as they are unable to escape back through the window. Consequently, the building heats up in a manner similar to the Greenhouse Effect.

In Australia we make widespread use of air conditioning to keep homes at a pleasant temperature. Unfortunately, this comes at a high cost with ever increasing electricity bills. This is where awnings, blinds and shutters play a very important role in keeping houses cooler in summer, helping reduce the need for air conditioning with the resulting savings.

It’s all about the g-value. This is the measurement of total solar energy transmittance through an object, such as a window. The lower the g-value, the better. Window coverings and awnings are very effective in reducing the g-value. The BMAA is in the process of developing an energy rating program that will provide consumers with information on the energy efficiency of window coverings and external sun shades.

What can you do?

Blinds, awnings and shutters can help prevent excessive heat gain by blocking or reflecting the sun’s rays. External awnings, blinds and shutters are best for summer heat rejection, as they prevent the sun’s radiation from even reaching the window. However, internal blinds and shutters can also help keep your home cooler – this is especially true of materials that have a reflective finish facing the window.

Don’t forget that automation using temperature sensors and other environmental controls can help ensure that your awnings, blinds and shutters are always in the correct position creating a pleasant living environment whilst saving money.

For expert advice please contact your local BMAA member.

Acknowledgement: we thank the BBSA – British Blinds and Shutters Association for their help with the copy on energy savings.