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Consider insulated drapes

QuestionWhat role do draperies play in the energy efficiency of my home?

AnswerAs energy costs continue to rise—and no end to increases appears in sight—homeowners are actively seeking to make their homes as energy efficient as possible. Window treatments are definitely an important area worth exploring.

Windows are thermal holes. Studies show that 38 percent of an average home's air leakage is through windows, doors, and cracks in walls. Another 16 percent escapes through the windows. Unless you take preventive measures, your heating and air-conditioning dollars will freely bleed out of your home.

Caulking and spray-in foam insulating products can help to fill gaps related to walls, windows, and doors. Energy-efficient low-E argon-filled double-paned glass and/or storm windows will save you energy dollars every month. But don't overlook the role of draperies in helping to block air leakage.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that insulated draperies or window treatments can reduce heat loss up to 25 percent and save the average family approximately $325 each year.

For maximum energy efficiency, drapes should be hung as close to windows as possible with the proper drapery hardware and should fall onto the windowsill or floor. A cornice board at the top of the drapery or placed against the ceiling will help to surround the entire window opening to prevent that expensive warm air from escaping through the window opening.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a cornice board is a box with a top, front, and two sides mounted above a window, deep and wide enough to clear the drapery hardware. Its width should be proportionate to the window it tops, and its height should be proportionate to the draperies. Padded and covered with fabric that matches or coordinates with the draperies, a cornice board can add a decorative touch to windows as well as play a role in home energy efficiency.

Drapes add a layer of luxury to windows as well as a layer of warmth. As you shop for drapes, look for heavier weight fabrics, tightly woven fabrics, lining, and an insulating interlining. Look beyond their decorative function and think about long-term energy savings.

Then, open those drapes in winter and let the sun in to reduce heating costs; close them in the summer to block out direct sunlight. At night, close the drapes to retain the heat and keep your home comfortable.

Copyright © 2007 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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C.R.S., Inc. · Spokane, Washington · USA

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