Using Window Treatments to Save Energy


Drapes or Blinds are coverings that are placed over windows to block sunlight and/or provide privacy.

Types of Drapes or Blinds include: Cafe Curtains; Priscilla Curtains; Vertical Blinds; Tab Curtains; Tent-flap Curtains; Venetian Blinds; Accordion Blinds; and Roll-up Blinds.

Drapes, window blinds & curtains can be shut during the day to help keep sunlight out to help keep exterior rooms cool, as well as to reduce the fading of furniture and carpets. And they can be shut at night to help reduce heat loss from exterior rooms.

Routine Care

Inspect and clean

Periodic maintenance will extend the useful life of your drapes and blinds.

It also helps you to detect and eliminate nests for household insects.

Timing: March (yearly)

How To

Clean drapes using a vacuum cleaner attachment. Inspect to:

  • Ensure mounting hardware is tight.
  • Ensure pull cords operate correctly and do not hang low enough for small children to become tangled.
  • Check for insect nests, etc.

For Venetian blinds, clean as follows:

  • Dip a cloth in warm water with mild detergent, or you can also put a pair of socks on your hands that have been dipped in mild detergent.
  • Rub back and forth until the surfaces are clean.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.
  • Wipe blinds with a damp fabric softener sheet to eliminate static that can attract dust.

Inspect Venetian blinds to:

  • Ensure mounting hardware is tight.
  • Ensure pull cords and rods operate correctly and do not hang low enough for small children to become tangled.
  • Check for insect nests, etc. and remove them.


The benefits of this task are moderate, and include maintaining the appearance and useful life of your drapes and blinds, and also helps reduce nesting places for insects and other household pests.


The cost of this task can be relatively high, depending on the number of drapes and blinds that you have in your home.


Using Window Treatments to Save Energy

Window treatments can obviously enhance the decor of your home, but they can also play an important role in reducing your energy bill. This article describes how blinds, drapes, and shades can each save you money.


Window blinds have slats that can be horizontal or vertical, which can be adjusted to allow more or less light and air flow to come through (see types, costs, and reviews of window blinds). When fully closed, lightly-colored blinds can block and reflect sunlight from coming into the room, and therefore reduce heat gain by up to 45%.

If you have horizontal-type slats in your blinds, then you can adjust the angle of the slats so that they reflect light up onto your ceiling, which can bring light into the room without much heat or glare. However in the wintertime, because there are gaps between the closed slats, blinds don’t control heat loss as well as drapes or shades.


During the summer, medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by up to 30%. And the pleats and folds of typical draperies can also help keep drapes cooler, because the pleats and folds lose heat through convection.

And during the winter, closing your drapes at night (or on windows which don’t receive much sunlight during the daytime) can reduce heat loss from a warm room by up to 10%.

To reduce heat losses by up to 25%, drapes should be hung as close to windows as possible, and should be allowed to fall tight onto a windowsill or floor. And similarly, you should install a cornice at the top of a drapery or place the drapery tightly against the ceiling. Further, the drapes should be sealed against the wall at both sides, and the drape material should overlap in the center. To attach the drapes tightly at the bottom, top, and sides, you can use Velcro or magnetic tape.

A drape’s ability to impact heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type, thickness, color, numbers of layers of drape, etc. (see types, costs, and reviews of drapes).

Window Shades

Window shades can be one of the most effective window treatments for saving energy. For best performance, shades should be mounted as close to the glass as possible, and the sides of the shade should be tight to the window frame, to create a sealed air space which acts as insulation.

Quilted roller shades and some types of Roman shades feature several layers of fiber batting and sealed edges, and these work well for creating insulation and blocking the movement of air (see types, costs, and reviews of roller shades). Pleated or cellular-style shades create dead air spaces, which can increase their insulating value.

A somewhat more elaborate approach is to have two sets of shades, one dark and one white. During the winter the white shade is placed facing the inside of your home (to reflect heat back into the room), and during the summer the white shade is placed on the outside to reflect heat away from your home.

In General

Regardless of whether your window treatments are blinds, drapes, or shades, during the summer you should close your window treatments during the day to block heat from coming into your home, and you should open them at night (where practical) to allow heat from your home to radiate out. And it is just the opposite in the winter, when you should open your window treatments during the day to allow sunlight to come in to heat your home, and they should be closed at night, to help keep heat in.


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