Here are some additional options for keeping your home cool without turning down the thermostat:
Insulated Cellular Shades
Made of pleated materials that roll up like an accordion at the top or bottom of the window, these shades have a high R-value compared to other window coverings. Heat is conducted through the window by means of the air pockets in the cross-sections, and these are an ideal choice for anyone wanting increased privacy as well as lower energy bills. In heating seasons, expect to save about 20 percent on your bills, and almost as much in cooling seasons. Some of these shades can be automated, which means maximum comfort and the ability to adjust as the seasons change.
Roller or Roman Shades
These coverings are raised and lowered by a bar at the top of the window and usually fit inside the casing of the window. The advantages are the low cost, and the fact that they come in a variety of colors, designs and fabrics. These are an ideal choice for blocking the sun, darkening a room or providing extra privacy. Shades should be installed as close to the glass as possible to be most efficient, and reversible shades allow you to use the dark side of the shade in the winter and the light colored side in the summer.
Being able to adjust the slats means more flexibility during hot months, and the ability to block light and glare, although blinds aren't quite as effective at reducing heat loss in the winter. Expect heat gain to be reduced by as much as 45 percent, and they have the added benefit of being able to regulate ventilation and light.
Curtains and Drapes
Again, a lot of variety available in terms of designs and colors, although the effectiveness largely depends on the design and material. Heat gain can be reduced by up to 33 percent on summer days when the curtains or drapes are fully closed. Heat loss can be reduced by up to 10 percent in the winter. For drapes and curtains to be as efficient as possible, the top of the drapery should be placed next to the ceiling or a cornice, and they should be hung as close to the windows as it's possible to do. To maximize your heat loss, consider medium colored drapes with a white plastic backing.
Efficient use of window coverings can actually reduce heat gain by almost 60 percent, and although it's easy to simply run your air conditioning, you won't appreciate the added cost. Piazza offers a wide variety of window coverings to meet your needs and tastes.