Spring for Solar Shades

Spring for Solar Shades

Windows have the lowest insulation value of any element in a building: 50% of solar heat enters a room through windows while 40% escapes through it. In an otherwise well-insulated wall, windows retain solar heat during the summer and let in cold drafts in the winter. While installing newly designed energy-efficient windows that use two to three layers of glass is an option, it is a very expensive and quite daunting one. Indoor solar shades, on the other hand, are an effective and relatively inexpensive way to fix the problem while maintaining the open feeling of a window.

According to the Smart Energy Window Alliance, single-pane windows generally have the lowest efficiency rating for thermal resistance: an R-value rating of just 1. However, adding solar shades can increase the efficiency of the window opening to as high as R-6, which the Smart Energy Window Alliance translates into an energy savings of up to 60 percent. With the warm weather quickly approaching, it is important to note that inefficient windows in hot climates are responsible for up to 75 percent of total air conditioning energy costs. Solar shades can block up to 98% of the sun’s heat and UV rays to actually reject heat in the summer and help decrease your energy bills.

If chosen correctly, solar shades will reflect out the heat in the summer and re-radiate the furnace heat in the winter. But not all solar shades have the same efficiency. There are so many to choose from. How do you know the correct one for your needs? Filtering out the sunlight will reduce solar heat but for the most heat rejection, white is the best. If you put your hand on a white car and a black car the white car is cooler. White solar shades actually stop 30% more heat than black which is significant. But white can be like looking through gauze. Darker colored solar shades give sharper outward visibility and better glare reduction. Do you need to forfeit practicality? The answer is not any more.

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The most effective solar shades have a layer of aluminum on the outside facing side to reduce heat in the summer and re-radiate the room’s heat in the winter. Verosol Silver Screen is one of these brands. It allows you the freedom to use dark colors without compromising heat reduction in the summer. It also keeps the room warmer in the winter.

There are also less expensive versions of shades with aluminum. These are called film shades, such as the Kool Vue Economic Shades. Not all need to have a mirrored outside facing side. They come in different tints and are truly like dark sunglasses on your window.