Are Blinds Energy Efficient?
The cost of energy is higher than at any recent time. Gas and electricity prices have skyrocketed in the last two years. Despite the government’s assistance with this crisis, we all want to reduce the amount of energy we use heating and cooling our homes. Alongside insulation, draft exclusion and double glazing, many people are considering new window treatments to keep the cold out this winter.
Your main choices are blinds, shutters and curtains. Of course, these can be combined to good effect – curtains and shutters go together particularly well – but most of us stick to just one window treatment. So, if you are looking to reduce wasted energy whilst keeping your home toasty warm, which window treatment should you choose?
The benefits of blinds
Blinds are thought to be the most popular window covering choice in the UK in 2022, with roller blinds and shades the most popular of all.
They are popular for a reason. Blinds offer a number of benefits that other window treatments simply can’t match.
For starters, blinds are highly effective at blocking out light. This is perfect for bedrooms, where you want to be able to sleep in without being disturbed by the early morning sun. (We often install blinds for shift workers too who need to sleep undisturbed during the day). Even in rooms that get less direct sunlight, blinds can help to reduce glare and make it easier to see your TV or computer screen.
The flexibility of light control is where blinds really excel. Curtains can be opened or closed, but that’s about it. Blinds look just fine partially opened, and with Venetian blinds, light can be further controlled by angling the slats. Blinds are usually a more practical option for commercial premises such as offices.
Blinds tend to be easier to clean and don’t need to be removed for cleaning.
In terms of energy efficiency, blinds offer surprisingly good insulation properties. In summer, heat gain (known technically as Solar Energy Transmittance) can create an uncomfortably hot environment. If you have installed double glazing, you’ve already reduced your heat gain from around 0.85 to around 0.24 and installing blinds or shutters could shave an impressive further 0.15 off this.[i]
Whether you’re looking for function or style (or both), blinds are a great option for your windows.
The benefits of curtains
Curtains are many people’s first thought when it comes to window treatments. And there’s no doubt that they do provide a number of benefits. For one thing, properly lined blackout curtains are very good at blocking light, making it easier to sleep during the lighter evenings and mornings, and blocking out unwanted street lighting.
Thick curtains can also help to keep the heat in, making your home more energy efficient. In addition, curtains can add a touch of style to any room. Whether you choose simple, functional curtains or something more decorative, they can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your space. That’s why curtains remain a very popular choice.
Which is more energy efficient for your home?
Every make and model of blinds and curtains is different, but in general a heavy curtain has a thermal transmittance value of 3.3 (W/m2 K) whereas some types of blinds, such as honeycomb blinds, have a superior thermal transmittance value of around 2.1W/m2 K (that’s 60% better than a single glazed window alone).
Roller blinds have an average heat loss reduction of 37% compared with a single glazed window alone. Their thermal transmittance value is about 3.4W/m2K. Close-fitting blinds can provide an extra layer of insultation against draughts and cold air that would otherwise creep through poorly insulated windows.
In terms of preventing heat gain, blinds win over curtains. They allow heat to escape during the summer months, reducing the need for energy-sapping cooling systems such as air conditioning in your home.
How to choose the right window treatments for your home
When it comes to choosing window treatments for your home, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the function of the treatment. Are you looking for something to block out light, reduce noise, or just add a bit of decoration?
Once you know what you need the treatment to do, you can start narrowing down your options. Take into account the style of your home – both blinds and curtains come in a such a wide variety of styles and patterns that you’re bound to be able to find one to suit any interior.
For a more modern look, blinds are almost always the way to go, and they can even be automated to make them fit into today’s smart home environments. Finally, don’t forget about practicality. Make sure that whatever treatment you choose is easy to clean and maintain. Blinds can be cleaned with the soft brush of a vacuum cleaner, or with a special blind-cleaning tool that can be bought easily online. Curtains will need to be removed, taken to the dry cleaners, and re-hung.
Tips for conserving energy with your window treatments
If you’re looking to save some energy (and money) this winter, your window treatments are a good place to start. Here are a few tips to help you:
- In winter, open your curtains or blinds to let in the sun during the daytime. This will help to trap heat and warm up your home naturally, especially if your home faces towards the sun for most of the day.
- At night, close your blinds or curtains as soon as the sun goes in at around 4pm, to trap that free heat you’ve gained!
- If you have draughty windows, get the gaps fixed. You can use self-adhesive anti-draught tape. Or could call in a local handyman for a really professional job.
- Consider installing double glazing. Around 86% of UK homes are already fully double glazed – which means 14% of homes are still using single glazing! Unless you live in a conservation area, you should be able to get double glazing installed without permission.
By following these simple tips, you can help to conserve energy and keep your home comfortable all winter long.
So, what’s the verdict? Are blinds energy efficient, or perhaps curtains are the way to go. The answer is … well of course it depends. Both have their own unique benefits that can make them a great fit for your home.
Either way installing blinds or curtains is a must especially if you have single glazed windows. But if you’re looking for privacy and light control, blinds are a better option. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what will work best in your specific home environment.
We hope this article has helped you make an informed decision about which type of window treatment is best for you. If you still have questions or need help choosing the perfect set of blinds or curtains for your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love helping our customers find the perfect solution for their windows – after all, we know that great window treatments can really improve the look and feel of any space. Thanks for reading!
[i] Research carried out by UK blind manufacturer S-Craft.