Summer Tips for a Cooler Home: Use Insulated Shades for Your Windows

By SelectBlinds.com

During the heat of summer, that A/C feels heavenly, doesn’t it? But those summertime electric bills! Hoo boy!

How about some energy efficiency? Sure, you can turn on the fans, use a dehumidifier, hang out in the basement more frequently, and even “dress down” a bit for the weather, but did you ever think about the heat coming in from your windows?

Consider those lovely sunny rays shining into your room. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “about 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.” Less incoming light = less heat from your windows.

So how DO you keep your house cool in the summertime?

Cellular shades keep rooms cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.
Cellular shades keep rooms cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.

How Do Cellular Shades Work?

Welcome to the world of cellular (“honeycomb”) shades. Cellular shades (often known as “cellulars,” for short) can block up to 99% of incoming light. Remember, less incoming light means less incoming heat through your windows.

The unique honeycomb design of these stylish window treatments also offers effective insulation against the incoming heat by trapping hot air in the pockets within the shade’s pleats, providing a layer (or two layers with the double-cell construction option) of protection between heat outdoors and your interior. This can significantly keep your rooms cooler and reduce your energy bills.

Guess what else cellular window treatments insulate against? Outdoor noise. Think of quieter rooms, insulated from the outdoor heat throughout your house, while relying less upon you’re A/C unit.

Cellular shades trap heat in their interior pockets for excellent insulation capabilities.
Cellular shades trap heat in their interior pockets for excellent insulation capabilities.

Should You Go with Single- or Double-cell Construction?

You’ll find that cellulars are available in single- and double-cell construction. Which is better?

Double-cell cellular do at least double up on the insulating and room darkening capability of your shades; the cost of upgrading to double-cell shades is well worth it. Take, for example, double-cell blackout shades. They offer the peak of insulation performance.

But don’t discount single-cell shades too quickly. Even less expensive single-cell shades can make a significant difference in your energy bill.  

Cellular shades are stylish and insulate from heat and noise.
Cellular shades are stylish and insulate from heat and noise.

Cellular Pleat Size

Another consideration for cellular shades is the pleat size options. Note that smaller pleats will look more natural in vertically shorter windows, while wider pleats will complement taller windows. Your sense of style, your choice!

Select Blinds’ Staff Recommends:

Check out some of our most popular styles of cellular shades below:

Select Blinds Classic Cordless Blackout Shades
Select Blinds 2" Premier Blackout Cellulars
Select Blinds Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades

And remember to stay cool this summer!

Interior Solar Shades vs. Exterior Solar Shades: Is One Better Than the Other?

by SelectBlinds

Whenever spring and summer approach, we start to get antsy and look forward to enjoying the sunshine and to spending time outside in the warm weather. Maybe even more so in 2021, after all the unexpected craziness of 2020!

Since we’re talking about exposure to the sun, which is preferable for blocking UV rays: interior solar shades, or exterior solar shades? Both kinds of energy-efficient shades deflect the sun’s rays without blocking your view, and they both offer their own features.

Interior Solar Shades vs. Outdoor Solar Shades

So, what exactly is the difference between indoor solar shades and exterior solar shades?

Interior Solar Shades keep the heat and glare out, while leaving you a view to the outside.
Interior Solar Shades keep the heat and glare out, while leaving you a view to the outside.

Interior solar shades feature an open-weave reflective fabric meant to let light filter through. You can see clearly outside, but those outside can’t see in; at night, this effect is reversed. By deflecting the sun’s glare effectively, solars also reduce incoming heat, making their energy efficiency another plus.  

Exterior solar shades provide excellent coverage for south-facing windows or for an exterior space like an enclosed patio or deck—similar to an awning. Like interior solars, outdoor solar shades allow a view to the outside, while providing privacy from the exterior view. Outdoor solars are also effective at keeping your enclosed spaces and your home’s interior cooler. Another plus for exterior solar shades: they don’t have an impact on your interior décor, and you’ll likely get the most use out of outdoor solars if you happen to live in a climate that’s warm all year long. 

Exterior solar shades deflect sunlight without blocking your view, and keep your shaded areas cooler.
Exterior solar shades deflect sunlight without blocking your view, and keep your shaded areas cooler.

Keep your exterior solar shades’ “openness” factor into account when making your selection. Openness factors are typically available in 1 percent, 3 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, and 14 percent. 

An outdoor solar shade with a 1 percent openness factor has much higher UV blockage with lower transparency, compared to one with a 10 percent or 14 percent openness factor. As you INCREASE in the openness factor, your UV blockage goes down, and you raise your outward visibility, in turn. 

Also keep in mind that lighter colored shades are generally better for blocking UV rays more effectively, while darker colors provide a better view to the outside.

Both interior and exterior solar shades can be installed as roller shades or as panels, but if you go with outdoor shades, make sure they’re manufactured to withstand the wear and tear of the outdoor weather elements (direct sunlight, rain, wind, etc.). Do your homework.

Some of our recommendations include:

Here is an online guide to help you select the best type of solar shades for the region you live in and for your home’s unique needs. Whatever climate you live in, and whatever your home’s needs are, interior solar shades and exterior solar shades can help you manage your privacy along with the incoming UV rays for enjoying Spring and Summer indoors and outside.