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GOING GREEN THIS SEASON IS MORE COST- EFFECTIVE THAN EVER
~ Hunter Douglas Can Help Reduce Air Conditioning and Heating Bills ~
Hunter Douglas, the company that pioneered the category of highly energy efficient yet fashionable window coverings with the development of the Duette® honeycomb shade in 1985, has the following tips to help save on those heating bills without giving your home a major overhaul:
• Weatherize – First, test your home for air tightness. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends lighting an incense stick on a windy day and holding it next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures and other places where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke travels horizontally, you have located an air leak. Seal up these holes, weather-strip doors and insulate attic floors. And, when the fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed tightly. • Insulate – Don’t just insulate your attic. The Department of Energy calculates that 10 to 25 percent of a heating bill goes out the window, literally. Duette honeycomb shades, boasting a cellular structure that traps air in the honeycomb pleats, can dramatically increase energy savings at the window. Insulation is measured in R-values and the higher the R-value, the better a window resists the transfer of heat. A single layer of uncovered window glass has an R-value of about 1, while a typical double-glazed window (two panes of glass or with a storm window) has an R-value of around 2. By selecting an energy-efficient window treatment, you can increase the R-value one to four points. Duette honeycomb shades with three layers of honeycomb pleats more than double the energy efficiency of a double-glazed window and nearly quadruple the efficiency of a single pane of glass with a very high insulating R-value of 4.8 (on double-glazed windows). • Improve and maintain your mechanical systems – Make sure your gas or oil furnace is serviced and cleaned at least once a year and change or clean furnace filters often during heating season. Also, clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed. And, replace your thermostat with a programmable one that allows you to set temperatures at different times of the day. Turning the heat down from 72 to 65 degrees for at least eight hours a day can reduce heating bills by 10 percent according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Portland General Electric, Portland’s largest utility company, has dispelled the popular notion that the higher you set your heater’s thermostat, the faster your home will warm up. In reality, they say, it takes the same amount of time for the temperature to reach 70 degrees F whether the thermostat is set at 70 or 90 degrees. Setting the thermostat all the way up only increases your heating costs. Another hint, according to Tom Silva, general contractor on PBS’s “This Old House,” air conditioning units should be removed in the fall as they are drafty and suck the air out of a house. If that is too much work, use an insulated jacket that goes on the exterior. • Watch Your Windows – For the rare sunny day, open your shades to help heat the house with the sun, but be sure to close them at night. Also, keep the windows on the south side of your house clean to ensure maximum solar gain. • Landscape – Let Mother Nature work for you. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your house. Plant deciduous trees on the south and east sides of your home. Stop chilling winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides.
Heating and Cooling Costs
Energy costs are no laughing matter which is why window treatments have important functional utility. Blinds,Shades,Draperies,Curtains and Plantation shutters each have different energy coefficients. By retaining heat in the winter, shading the sun in the summer, and providing maximum UV blockage and sound absorption, quality window fashions substantially cut energy costs. The result is a surprisingly early payback on the investment you've made in your home. Energy-efficient window treatments translate into year-round savings on heating and cooling costs. The more heat loss and heat gain they prevent, the more money will be saved in keeping rooms warm in winter and cool in summer. Simple numeric values attributed to product and fabric type will help you gauge the energy efficiency of any Hunter Douglas window fashion.
Winter Comfort: R-Values
A product’s "R-value" (see charts below) is simply a measurement of its ability to keep heat in and cold out. Since an uncovered double-pane Low-E window has an R-value of about 3.23, the numbers in the charts reflect the combined measurement of the window itself plus the window covering. So, the higher the R-value, the better that product is at retaining indoor warmth. For example, with an R-value of 4.00, the selected product stops about 75% of heat loss through the window, resulting in substantial and continuous savings in energy costs.
Summer Comfort: U-Factors A product's "Summer U-factor" (see charts) is a measurement of its ability to reflect heat. For example, if a window treatment reduces heat by 80% to 95%, this translates into a summer U-factor of .20 to .05. The lower a product's U-factor, the more effective it will be in reflecting heat.