Tag Archives: Energy Efficiency

How to Save Energy Costs With Shades and Window Treatments

decorating with whiteWe are constantly looking for new ways to cut costs and save money. And it’s understandable to avoid spending money on home updates, even if it will lead to a more valued and energy efficient home in the long run. If you’re really looking to save money, you need to change your way of thinking about windows. Windows offer very little resistance to the flow of heat, and can allow up to 50% of your home’s heating and cooling expenses to flow right through them. If you want to cut energy costs, make your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and add aesthetic value to your home with a huge variety of energy efficient options, then you may be interested in the help we are here to provide.

An important thing to figure out is which windows need the most and the least attention. West-facing windows admit the hottest light and need the most coverage, whereas south-facing windows are the most important natural light source and do not need major coverage.

Simple Window Coverage

For some of the simplest and most effective window coverage, try installing window shades. In the summer, you should lower shades on all sunlit windows. During the winter, however, you should pay special attention to the south-facing windows. For the best results in energy savings, raise shades on those windows during the day, and lower them at night. Some options that provide maximum energy efficiency include honeycomb or cellular shades, shutters, roman shades, and horizontal sheer blinds. These shades act as both insulation and air barrier, and control air infiltration more effectively than other soft window treatments.

Window blinds are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than reducing winter heat loss. Highly reflective blinds are able to control and reduce heat gain in the summer months by up to 45%. Additionally, they can be adjusted to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling, which will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.

If you’re installing shades, blinds, or draperies, it is important to install them properly for the best results. This involves hanging or mounting them as close to windows and walls as possible in order to establish a sealed air space. You can also use Velcro or magnetic tape on the sides and bottoms of drapes, which can reduce heat loss up to 25%. However, it is best to have a professional perform a custom treatment on your home.

Pucher’s has a large selection of wood blinds, vertical blinds, mini blinds, shutters, Roman shades, pleated shades, cellular honeycomb shades, roller shades, and Silhouettes. We also have tons of styles, colors, and operating systems available to fit all of your various needs. Because of our buying power, we discount many of our fabric lines 10-15% every day! Our window treatments are all quality products at great values. With the cost you will also get:

  • Free expert design consultants (in-store)
  • Free measures
  • Lifetime installation warranty
  • Installer professionalism guarantee
  • “No surprises” price quotes
  • Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner 2011

These factors are extremely helpful aids in the already affordable window treatments we have to offer. The right window treatments can actually pay for themselves in as little as seven years in Northern Ohio. And with the help of our expert design consultants and professional installers, the “right” and most energy efficient window treatment is simple to acquire. Call one of stores in Cleveland, Berea or North Royalton today for a free in-home consultation, and we’ll bring the fabric samples to you.

Tips to Keeping a Warmer Home

silquartette_easyrise_livingroom_5-resized-600With temperatures low and energy prices at an all-time high, this winter it is more important than ever to be clever and frugal about how you keep your home warm.  Fortunately, there are many quick and inexpensive ways that you can make your home more resistant to the cold.  Here are several useful tips on how you can keep your home’s heat in, and the winter cold out.

Check Your Windows

When the weather starts to get cold, you should take a quick walk around your house to make sure that all of your windows are in good condition.  Many homeowners make the mistake of not completely closing their windows after the summer heat departs.  Even if your windows are open just a crack, a lot of heat can be escaping from your home.  One easy way to check if your windows are air-tight is to burn a stick of incense inside your home.  After the stick is burnt, walk around your house and see if you can smell the aroma.  If any of your windows are leaking air, the smell will be especially concentrated near them.  You can fix leaks with clear, plastic coverings purchased from your local home improvement store.

Add Window Treatments

Many window treatments can add significantly to the R-value of your windows. In fact, installing cellular shades is much less expensive and is sometimes more energy efficient than replacement windows!  Consider adding blinds, shades or fabric treatments to your windows to keep the cold out in the winter. The staff at Pucher’s Decorating can help guide you through the many choices in style, color and energy efficiency.

Shut Off Unused Rooms

You may have rooms in your house that you rarely ever use.  If so, it does not make sense to pay for the energy needed to heat those rooms.  Instead, close all heating vents that are in those rooms, and then shut the doors that lead to them.  This way, your unused rooms won’t be heated and your total energy bill will be that much lower.  One other advantage is that when you are trying to heat up your house, you will notice the rooms you do use getting warmer, faster.

Cook More

The more you cook, the warmer at your house will be.  A normal stove gives off a lot of heat, and this heat can serve the double purpose of not only preparing your dinner, but also keeping your kitchen and adjacent rooms warm.  If you cook frequently during the winter, you will notice that your home stays warmer without you needing to set your thermostat so high.  Another useful tip is to burn candles around your house.  Though they only have small flames, candles give off a surprising amount of heat.  Just be careful that you don’t leave burning candles unattended.

Blinds vs. Shades – Which are Better?

These are basically two types of window treatments, although they come in a wide variety of styles and with lots of options.

Blinds are “hard” window treatments with slats or vanes made of wood, composite, vinyl or aluminum.  They can be horizontal or vertical.  Shutters are a gorgeous alternative but function in much the same way.

Shades are “soft” window coverings made of fabric, vinyl, woven woods or grasses.

When deciding between the two and selecting any type of window treatment you need to consider these factors:

vigtailored_powerrisetwo_bathroom-resized-600Privacy & Light Control

How will you use the room?  Bedrooms and bathrooms have an obvious need for privacy and light control, as well as rooms where you’ll watch TV or work at a computer.  Blinds provide the most flexibility with privacy & light control because they can be raised or lowered, as well as tilted open or closed depending upon the amount of privacy/light you desire.   With shades, privacy & light control is mainly achieved by raising or lowering the shade, but also depends on the type and color of material you choose.  Shade materials range from sheer to light filtering to completely light blocking. (Note that darker fabrics block more light, as the Hunter Douglas Vignette roman shade pictured above  demonstrates.)

graber-cellular-1-resized-600Climate & Natural Light

The right window treatment can actually increase your home’s energy efficiency.  Western and Southern facing rooms receive strong warm light, plus homes in Southern climates or anywhere in the summer require stronger light & heat control.  Energy-efficient window treatments like cellular/honeycomb shades (shown here from Graber) trap hot or cold air at the window.  In a Northern climate, during the winter months or in a North-facing room, you might want to allow more light in to take advantage of the sun’s radiant heat.   Moreover, UV light can damage, fade or darken beautiful hardwood floors and fine furnishings.  In these rooms, you may want to consider window shades specifically made to block UV light.

heritance-truview-childsroom_1-resized-600Architectural Details & Room Decor

Great architectural details, like the bay window (pictured right), take center stage with coordinating wood shutters or blinds.   The clean, tailored lines of shutters and blinds also complement contemporary, classic and masculine interiors.  If you’re going for a more feminine, romantic look you would opt for a soft window shade or drapery.

Also, consider the mix of materials in your room’s decor.  Ideally, you want to achieve a balance between hard materials like wood, tile & stone, metal and soft materials like fabric. For example, if your room has porcelain tile on the floor, wood and metal tables with leather furniture,  the softness & texture of a roman shade will help balance the decor.

silhouette-views-resized-600Your Lovely Views

If you’re blessed with gorgeous views outside, you’ll want shades that completely retract into the headrail or blinds/shutters with larger slats (2′” or more) that preserve more of the view outside when open.  One gorgeous option is the Hunter Douglas’ Silhouette window shading (pictured left) which does both!

Cleaning & Maintenance

In general, blinds and shutters are easier to clean than shades.  You simply dust or wipe down the slats.  Some blinds even feature removable slats!  Shades are a little trickier and are usually just spot-cleaned as needed.  Some fabric shades can be removed and cleaned in the bathtub with mild soap and water.  Our sales consultants will provide you with each manufacturer’s recommended cleaning and care tips.

Key Takeaway:  There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for window treatments.  Our design consultants are window treatment experts and will help you navigate all the options to find the perfect blinds or shades for your home and family.

Window Treatments that Work with Sliding Glass Doors

Which window treatments can I use on my sliding glass doors besides vertical blinds?

We hear this question from many customers.  The short answer is … almost any window treatment will work on sliders, but some are better suited to large areas of glass.  There are also some cool, innovative products that are not only stylish, they work particularly well in vertical applications.

Before You Go Shopping

  • How much privacy and light control will you need in that room?   For example, if the slider is in a room where you watch TV, you’ll need a treatment that completely blocks light when closed.
  • What types of window treatments are on the other windows in that room and the rest of the house?  You’ll probably want your new window treatment to coordinate with them.
  • Which direction does your slider open (to the left or right)?  For ease of use, it’s better if your treatment opens in the same direction.
  • Measure your window opening (length, width and depth). This information will help your design consultant identify which treatments will work for your windows and calculate a cost estimate.

panel1Panel Track Blinds

  • Wide, vertical panels on a track that smoothly glide open and closed.
  • Available in a wide variety of fabrics, woven wood looks and solar screens
  • Great for Contemporary to Transitional interiors (e.g. Hunter Douglas’ Skyline Gliding Panels, left)

 

shuttersShutters

  • Shutter panels on a bypass track (or bifold track)
  • Adds a clean, classic look plus an unexpected wow factor to your slider (e.g. HD Heritance Shutters, right)
  • Available in stained or painted hardwood panels, as well as economical composite shutters (white, off-white or select stain colors)

verticalVertical Sheers

  • Combine the softness of draperies with the versatility of vertical blinds.
  • Best of both worlds – total privacy when closed; soft, filtered light when open
  • One of our favorites is AdoWrap (left), which features a sheer fabric that can cover existing verticals blinds.  Best of all, the fabric unsnaps and is completely washable!

 

 

vertical2Vertical Cellular Shades

  • Made of single or double honeycomb cells that when closed, trap outside air at the window, providing 20% more energy efficiency than standard verticals (HD Duette Vertiglide, right).
  • Operate on a track, pulling open and closed with a handle (no wand or cords).
  • Available in opaque, light-filtering or sheer fabrics.

curtainsCurtains and  Draperies

  • Fabrics add softness, color and personality to sliders
  • Use a traverse rod that pulls open in the same direction as the door (try a cornice or decorative traverse rod to add extra style)

Vertical Blinds

  • vertical3Don’t rule these out – check out the updated wood, fabric and vinyl looks, like grasscloth, raw silk, faux suede, woven wood and other textures (e.g HD Somner Vertical Blinds, right).
  • Economical, excellent light control and tailor-made for sliding glass doors.

 

Key Takeaway:  Today there are so many gorgeous options to dress your sliders.  The design consultants at Pucher’s can help you find the right one for your home.  Right now, enjoy FREE INSTALL when you buy window treatments over $499 (Excludes shutters & draperies.  Offer ends 9/3/11).

Window Treatments That Save You Money

Choosing energy-efficient window treatments can save you money on monthly utility bills and at tax time.

Windows are “energy holes.”  Although today’s sealed, double-paned windows do a good job of preventing air flow, they still offer little resistance to the flow of heat. In fact, up to 50% of your home’s heating and cooling energy pours through them.  That means that one half of your home’s heating and cooling expenses goes through them as well.   Installing the right window treatments in your home can reduce heating, cooling, and lighting energy needs in 3 ways.

Three Ways to Save Energy

1.  Reduce heat flow (heat loss and heat gain) through the windows
R-Value:  R-values measure resistance to heat flow.  The walls of a newer home typically have an R-value of 19, while standard double-pane windows have an R-value of about 2.   Energy-saving window treatments can add up to 4 points to a window’s R-value, cutting heat loss by up to 2/3.  Imagine the impact of this insulation on your utility bills!

Insulating Window Treatments that boost R-values:
money1Developed in the 1970’s in response to the energy crisis, honeycomb or cellular shades are one of the most energy-efficient window treatments you can buy.  We like the Hunter Douglas Duette Architella Honeycomb Shades (pictured right), which increase R-values by up to 4 points!  Other good options include shutters, roman shades and horizontal sheer blinds.  Whichever window treatments you choose, make sure they can be inside-mounted, flush against your window casement or you won’t see much benefit.

2.   Control solar heat by allowing it in winter and reducing it in summer

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – Measured on a scale of 0 to 1, this tells us what fraction of solar energy hitting the window actually enters the home.  Lower numbers are better.  Standard double-pane windows have a SHGC of 0.76 – meaning 76% gets in the home!  If you live in a sunny climate or have a south or west-facing room that gets a lot of sun in the summer, choose window treatments that are light in color to reflect as much solar energy as possible.

In the winter, you can take advantage of this free solar energy to reduce your heating bills.  Simply raise or open window coverings whenever direct sunlight is shining on the window – in the morning for east windows, in the afternoon for west windows and most of the day for south windows.


money2Window Treatments that Reduce Your SHGC:

Almost all window treatments reduce the SHGC when closed, but those with the best SHGC ratings include HD Duette Architella honeycomb shades, vertical blinds, shutters, roman shades and opaque draperies.   We like Hunter Douglas Luminette Privacy Sheers (pictured right), which reduce SHGC to 0.20, blocking 80% of solar energy.

3.   Enhance daylighting (the use of natural light) by diffusing and dispersing sunlight deep into a room.   

money3The biggest problem homeowners face is direct sunlight.  It creates too much contrast in a room.  Dark areas seem darker and sunlit areas are harsh and glaring.  The goals of “daylighting” are to even the intensity of incoming light and bring it deeper into the room.  Certain window treatments can diffuse harsh sunlight, evening it out and making it softer.  HD Silhouette Window Shadings (pictured right) do a beautiful job of diffusing light and also block 99% of UV rays, protecting your furnishings.  Honeycomb shades and vertical sheers are other good daylighting options.

2011 Federal Energy Tax Credit

In addition to saving money on energy bills, you may be eligible to receive a federal tax credit of up to $500 when you purchase the following energy-efficient window treatments (through December 31, 2011):

  • Honeycomb shades
  • Plantation shutters
  • Draperies, especially those identified as “insulated drapes”
  • Window films with insulating properties

Please note that manufacturers must certify that their window treatments meet the federal government’s criteria for energy efficiency, such as Hunter Douglas’ Duette Architella honeycomb shades and Comfortex’s Comfortrack system.  So make sure you receive documented proof of this certification.  You won’t have to submit the certification statement with your tax return, but you’ll need it and a copy of the sales receipt for your records.

Key Takeaway:  Energy-efficient window treatments are a smart investment.  They not only add style and comfort to your home, they can save you money on your monthly utility bills and also at tax time.