Saving Energy with Curtains

by Emma Lee, Demand Media
    Too much or too little sunlight affects room temperatures.

    Too much or too little sunlight affects room temperatures.

    An investment in energy efficient curtains will save you money during winter and summer months. Energy efficient curtains serve a dual purpose; they retain heat during the winter and reject heat in the summer, resulting in lower cooling and heating bills. You'll control how much sun is allowed to enter your home, and when, by adjusting the energy efficient curtains to be either open or closed.

    Energy efficient Curtain Styles

    Energy efficient curtains are draperies with a lining attached to the back of the drapery. The lining could consist of a spongy material that is heavy and blocks the sun in the summer or keeps heat from escaping in the winter. Energy efficient curtains are also available separate from the drape. This style hangs on a curtain rod mounted as close to the window as possible to prevent air from escaping around the edges of the curtain.

    Warm Weather

    Select a drapery with a light color solar backing for summer weather; light colors reflect sunlight rather than absorb the heat. During the heat of the day, and before the sun shines directly onto the windows, keep the curtains closed. Blocking the heat before it has a chance to enter and warm the air will help keep the room comfortable and lessen the need for air conditioning. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), white-plastic curtain backing could reduce home heat intake by 33 percent. (See Reference 1)

    Cold Weather

    Open the energy efficient curtains during the day if the window is receiving sunlight. Any use of natural sunlight during cold weather will lessen the need to run your home furnace. Close the curtains as soon as the sun has set to keep all the heat from escaping through window. According to DOE, closing curtains could save up to 10 percent in heat loss. (See Reference 1)

    Useful Tips

    Hang energy efficient curtains as close to the ceiling as possible or mount a cornice over the top of the curtain. Either method will keep heat from leaving or entering the room. Another effective method is using magnetic tape along the edges of the curtain to seal it against the wall. Attach one length of tape to the wall and another length to the outer edge of the curtain. Press the wall and curtains tapes together to form an airtight seal. Floor length curtains will also slow the flow of either hot or cold air from entering or leaving the room. Hanging two curtains over one window creates a tighter air space than one single curtain. The curtain within the room maintains a temperature closer to the room temperature, while the curtain closest to the window absorbs the heat or cold. According to DOE, following these tips could be a savings of up to 25 percent in reducing heat loss. (See Reference 1)

    Window Fixes

    A window with leaks due to old caulking is helping to defeat the purpose of energy efficient curtains. Remove old caulking and replace with new to give the window a good seal. Doing so will prevent hot or cold air from entering or leaving the room. Caulking also prevents drafts that could give your thermostat a false reading.

    About the Author

    Emma Lee owns a photography website and also works as a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, animals and photography. Her work can be found on various websites. Lee attended Charles County Community College located in Maryland.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images