Design 411 – Green Window Treatments

August 19, 2014

This week’s Décor Revolution tip is about green window treatments.  Window treatments soften the look of your room; add color and texture to your décor, and; the right choice can turn a room from dull to divine.  Window treatments can also save energy.  They can keep the heat out, in the summer; and the heat in, in the winter.

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For hot summer days, there are solar shades that are specifically designed to block the sun’s rays while letting in some daylight.  You can have a light-colored lining sewn onto draperies or roman shades, like in the featured image of my client’s family room,  to help reflect the sun’s heat back outside.

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Blinds and louvered shutters also allow you to tilt the slats up or down, directing sunlight back outside.  Keep your window coverings closed during the hottest time of the day on east, west and south-facing windows to shut out the sun’s rays (the north side doesn’t get direct sun).

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For cold winter days, insulated window coverings can help keep the warmth inside and cut down on drafts.  Drapery or shades lined with a thick insulating fabric will do the trick.  Make sure that they are mounted outside the window, but close enough so that no air can circulate around them.  Cellular shades are another good option for insulation.  They come double or triple pleated and by trapping the air between the layers, they keep your home warmer.

Energy-efficient window coverings will not only lower your heating and cooling costs.  They will also protect your furniture, floors and carpets from damaging ultraviolet rays.  Over time, UV rays can cause damage to your furniture and floors, fading the colors and weakening the structure of the fibers.  In the case of wood floors, you may even see splitting.  With the right window treatments, nearly all of the UV light can be filtered out, protecting your valuable possessions.

There are also fabric manufacturers that make eco-friendly fabrics.  Kravat has a collection that is made of 100% recycled polyester, which is a unique blend of post-industrial and post-consumer fibers woven and treated with no additional chemicals.  During the finishing process, they use water-based products and environmentally approved dyes for a look that is eco-friendly without sacrificing style or quality.  After years of enjoyable use, these fabrics are recyclable.   Other companies make organic cottons (reducing the exposure to toxic chemicals from synthetic pesticides); eco-wool (uses minimal pesticides & a biodegradable detergent is used to clean the wool, and in spinning, natural oils are used instead of mineral oils); and bamboo (an ideal sustainable source of raw material; 100% biodegradable).

There are many options for green window treatments that will help you save on your energy bill, protect your valuable belongings from the damage of ultraviolet rays, and also protect our planet.  An experienced interior designer can help you make the right choice for your specific situation.

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