In Arizona, especially in the summer months, a common question is “What shades do the best to reduce the heat?” That’s a loaded question for sure. There are a lot of priorities people have to arrange when choosing new shades:
Today we dig into how to reduce heat with your window coverings, and which shade options will do it best. To be clear, anything in the window to block out sunlight and create a barrier will help with heat reduction, but in my experience, these 3 options are most effective.
Honeycomb and Cellular Shades
One of the highlights of Honeycomb (also known as Cellular Shades) is their ability to blackout a room better than most shades. With those blackout fabrics what also increases is the insulation factor in your window. Think about it… dual-paned windows. Is there anything between them? No insulation, no foam… just air. Yet Dual-Paned windows became a code that contractors now have to build with because it makes your home more energy-efficient…. and over the years, the cost of energy keeps going up.
The cells in Honeycomb do the same thing… hit the sun on one side of the shade, they have that air gap inside the cell, or on dual-cells even greater reduction… and then there’s the inside of the shade. The heat simply doesn’t transfer that far, and you’re left with better heat reduction and improved energy efficiency. Add that to options like Top-Down-Bottom-Up, Cordless, or Automated… and you start to get yourself some fun ways to shade your home.
Shutters (also referred to as Plantation Shutters) have the same effect… but buyer beware! Shutters have made drastic improvements in the past 10-15 years; different materials, different control options, different sized louvers, etc, and the material of your shutters makes a big difference. Let me explain…
Shutters were originally made out of wood. People are always seeking ways to do things better and make improvements. What kinds of problems are there with wood shutters” you ask? For starters, they’re made of wood. Anything made of wood suffers from the sun, rain, and other elements. It needs to be painted or stained, and then later painted on stained again. Wood is expensive and more finite than people realize… translation = costly! The left-over material from wood ends up being more wasteful and isn’t really part of the green movement. In problem-solving these things, manufacturers started experimenting with blended materials and making composites of different mixes. Using these composites over the last 20 years to solve the damage issues caused by the sun, water, and time… they’ve replaced our decks and siding with composite materials… fences are made from composite materials, and lots more other things than we realize.
The poly-composite movement in shutters has been huge. They have the same impact as Honeycomb; they improve insulation better without carrying the heat (like wood does). They have very little, if not any waste at all because all of their materials can be used. Translation – they’re less expensive. Both wood shutters and poly-composite will improve heat reduction, but the poly-composite will do it just a little better.
Exterior Sun Screens
This is the most affordable way to improve energy efficiency. Screens are a smart way to allow yourself time to find the window treatments you want to. Think of them like sunglasses — you can see out of them, but people can’t see into them. And if your budget isn’t allowing you to get the shutters or shades you want yet, most houses can get every window screened for between $700 to $1700. The fewer windows you have, the less it cost. This is a very smart way to get privacy and heat reduction while you then can use your time to find the shades you want.
At the end of the day, anything to block out light and create some a barrier between the sun and the inside of your home will help with these improvements…. but these are my top 3 recommendations.