Window Coverings That Insulate and Save Energy

Real Estate Agent with John Roberts Realty

Now is the perfect time to consider ways to help reduce energy loss and keep your home comfortable all year. If you are on a budget and replacing windows is not an option there are plenty of other ways to help you save money and still keep your house comfortable.

Types of Window Coverings

Cellular Shades

Honeycomb or “cellular” shades are typically the most insulating window coverings. The air pockets created by the honeycomb shape trap air that act as insulation. According to the DOE, cellular shades can reduce heat loss through windows by 40% in winter, and reduce the amount of heat coming in your windows by 80% in summer.

Cellular shades come in many varieties, from light-filtering single-cell to multi-cell blackout shades. They can raise and lower from the top and bottom, can be cordless, and some offer the option of automating the shades to open and close on a set schedule.

Roman Shades

Roman shades are typically fabric windows coverings that draw up in evenly spaced folds. They typically fit over or just inside the window casement. These window coverings offer less insulation and are generally better for blocking sun in the summer. Heavier (and even quilted fabrics) will offer the most insulation.

Roller and Solar Shades

These are the simplest types of shades: single sheets of material that cover the window. The difference between the two types is that roller shades are available in solid fabric or vinyl that blocks the light coming in, whereas solar shades are made from a screen-like material and block UV rays. As with roman shades, these types of shades are better for keeping out sunlight, as opposed to keeping in warmth.


Horizontal and vertical slat-type blinds are also better at keeping the sun out of your home than in keeping heat in during winter. They offer more flexibility than shades, but less control over heat loss.

Drapes and Curtains

Did you know that drapes and curtains aren’t the same thing? Drapes are typically lined, made of thicker fabric, and usually extend from the top of the window (or the ceiling) to the floor. Curtains, on the other hand, are made of lighter, often sheer fabric, so they are less effective at providing privacy or insulation.

Drapes vary greatly in their ability to provide insulation, depending on the color and type of fabric, but they can be very effective at keeping the heat both out and in. For maximum effectiveness, install a cornice or valance at the top of the drapes. You can also use drapes in combination with shades or blinds for added insulation.

Window Coverings for Different Climates

Window Films

If you live where summers are hot and winters are mild and have single pane or older double-pane windows, window films may be a way to help reduce energy costs. These coatings reflect or absorb the sun’s energy to keep your home comfortable and help prevent fading on furnishings and furniture.

You may not want to use window films in climates with cold winters, as the film will also block the welcome winter sun from warming your home.

Storm Windows

If you live where temps drop below freezing in winter (and you won’t be opening windows until spring), storm windows may be a good option for you. Storm windows can help improve insulation for existing windows. You can install them on the inside or outside of existing windows, either permanently, or just for the winter season.

Smart Shades: Make the Most of Your Window Coverings

Choosing the right type of window covering is only part of the equation for keeping your home comfortable. While you may want your west-facing windows uncovered on summer mornings, you’re likely going to want to cover them up as the day progresses. Most of us aren’t home all day, or if we are, we’re busy and have plenty to do besides monitoring our window coverings.

Now you can automate different types of window shades with your smartphone, a voice-controlled home automation device from Google, or through Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. You can schedule your shades to come down and block out the hot summer sun, or in the winter set them to open in the morning and let the sun warm your home.

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Comments (8)

Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a very good report to share.

Take care, be safe and have a very productive month.

Jan 06, 2021 04:21 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Pat, great post, and there are days I pull the drapes closed too, to keep in the heat on those very cold days! 

Jan 06, 2021 07:35 AM
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


Nice post about something many don't think about, cheers cvc

Jan 07, 2021 10:48 AM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Roy, thanks for stopping by. I wish you the same. Have a great afternoon.

Jan 07, 2021 01:58 PM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Joan, I find myself doing the same thing; especially, on days like today. Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 07, 2021 01:59 PM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Curtis, thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great afternoon.

Jan 07, 2021 01:59 PM
Sharon & Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN - Lafayette, IN
West Lafayette homes for sale

Pat, we have used the honeycomb shades in several rooms and they do work well.  This is great information for consumers and clients!

Feb 01, 2021 06:34 AM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Sharon and Bruce, thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great weekend.

Feb 12, 2021 02:34 PM

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