Mid-summer, most of us go from enjoying a lovely breeze through open windows to finding refuge in front of a fan or in spaces graced with AC. Though sun-filled rooms may lift our spirits, they may also make us sweat—both physically and metaphorically. The U.S. Department of Energy says heat lost or gained (depending on the season) through even closed windows accounts for 25 to 30 percent of our energy use. In summer, this raises both the temperature of a room and our energy use and bills. (Winter, of course, is guilty as well, just in reverse.) It is literally throwing money out the window.
Money isn’t the only concern. Climate change offers a Catch-22 when it comes to energy use. Hotter summers and colder winters call for more energy use to regulate the temperature of our home. But, of course, excessive energy use leads to climate change. Whether you’re looking to save the environment or money or both, the right curtains are a great step in that direction as well as a great way to add interest to a room.
The same principles that cool us off when we step into the shade of a tree or wear light clothing can help drapes cool rooms. Multi-layer blackout curtains with light colored lining keep the heat from the sun from penetrating a room by both reflecting and blocking the sun, and therefore heat. The most effective energy saving curtains are made of layers of tightly woven fabric with a light-colored lining, which helps reflect light away from the room. Our blackout curtains, available in a variety of fabrics, colors and prints, are just that, with weighted hems to help them better cover the window area. Remember, you’re trying to block the transfer of heat from outside in (and vice versa in winter). So, when you hang the curtains, be sure they cover the windows with several inches at top, bottom (touching the floor) and sides.
Windows aren’t the only energy suck that can be remedied with drapes. Curtaining off entry ways from adjoining rooms limits the energy loss from a larger area, like the living room, and adds a dramatic and elegant design element to your space. The climate crisis and big energy bills are ugly, but at least one of the solutions is pretty. Like a dress with pockets, blackout curtains are fashion meets function and all the more delightful for it.