By: Natalie Elmhurst
Modern homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to make their homes more eco-friendly. By reducing energy use and choosing more sustainable materials, homeowners are lessening their negative impact on the environment. Luckily, there’s an added benefit of designing an eco-friendly home: lowered energy costs and less waste created.
The average home uses a lot of energy, and more than half of energy spending is caused by air conditioning and space heating, according to studies from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Another 27% of energy use comes from lighting, refrigeration, and water heaters. Over-use of these appliances not only has a negative effect on the environment, but it can also add up to a costly monthly bill. Yet these are also crucial when it comes to making a home habitable and comfortable. Few want to endure summer’s sweltering heat just to save a few dollars on an electric bill. Luckily, there are ways to reduce energy spending in some of these categories, without sacrificing comfort.
Those interested in design for sustainability should also consider the amount of waste they generate. When decorating a home, spending adds up and it can be tempting to cut corners by opting for lower-cost furniture and design elements. However, these items tend to have a shorter shelf life, meaning many less expensive items will wear and tear more easily and need to be replaced more often. This not only becomes more expensive in the long run, as you have to repurchase the same goods every few years, but it also generates a lot of waste since broken items that cannot be repurposed are simply thrown in the trash.
One big opportunity to cut down on energy and waste in an eco-friendly home is by choosing high-quality custom shades and blinds. Doing so can foster a steady climate in your home and reduce the amount of waste created over time. Here are some of the best window treatment options for a sustainable home.
There are a lot of great custom shades, drapes, and blinds out there, but a few types are especially well-suited for reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
Solar shades: Made with special fabric that blocks UV light and heat from the sun, solar shades help keep homes from overheating in warm months and reduce the amount of work your air conditioner has to do.
Cellular shades: These shades feature pleats of fabric that hold in air, making them a great insulating option for windows in winter or summer. In winter, the layers of fabric can prevent cold air from getting in through the windows, while in summer they can keep out heat and keep cool air in, so that your heaters and A/Cs have to do less to keep your home cozy year-round. Plus, cellular shades can come in a variety of fabrics and sizes, allowing for a lot of design flexibility.
Drapery: Custom drapes can also help keep your home comfortable. Drapery panels can be made with fabric that blocks UV light and heat, similar to solar shades. They can also be made with blackout fabric that keeps the sun out and keeps your home cooler when it’s warm outside — without using any energy.
Solar and cellular shades—and many other styles of custom shades and blinds—can be automated. When automated, your window treatments can be scheduled to open or close at various times of day, with a small motor controlling them. That way, even when you’re not home or you simply forget, your window coverings in each room will optimize the temperature of your home by, for example, lowering during hot and sunny afternoons or letting in warm light on cold mornings. Automating your window treatments means your energy efficiency won’t depend on you.
Custom shades and blinds have a big advantage over their off-the-shelf counterparts: they tend to be much higher quality. When you invest in nicer window treatments, they will last much longer and withstand more wear than flimsier options. You don’t have to replace high-quality treatments as often and won’t have to throw out coverings every couple of years, reducing the amount of waste your home generates. Especially in a home you plan to live in for many years to come, the amount of waste you’ll save over time with high-quality custom treatments will be significant.
A lot goes into creating an eco-friendly home, but controlling the temperature is one of the most impactful ways you can reduce energy use and make your living space more sustainable. To learn more about how custom shades and blinds can be used to make your home better for the environment, sign up today for a free consultation with one of our experts.