Window Shades and Blinds

Save energy and money using your shades and blinds.

Heating and cooling are the largest uses of energy in the home. One of the bigger tasks on the home energy checklist is to retain heat in the winter and keep heat out in the summer. But even before you caulk windows and lay insulation in the attic, you can use window shades and blinds to start saving energy.

In the Winter

Window Shades and Blinds letting in sun to warm cat.In the daytime, open shades and blinds to let sun enter the house. The energy will help keep your house warm at no cost. If you doubt whether it will make any difference, consider a cat in the sun. Recently I tested the temperature of my cat's fur while she was sitting in a sunbeam. It was a toasty 126° F. The shady side of the cat was 81° F.

In the evenings, put the shades down to provide some insulation as well as for privacy.

In the Summer

When direct sunlight is entering the windows, put the shades or blinds down to prevent it from warming the house. Since you probably don't want to feel like you live in a cave, you can put them back up when out of direct sunlight. You can even buy programmable motorized window shades and blinds as well as insulated window shades.

Trees and shrubs can act to shade your home in the summer and reduce cooling costs. In the winter, deciduous trees lose their leaves and let the sun though to warm your home.

Striking a Balance

You probably only need to think about a few windows since direct sunlight won't be entering from all sides. Small windows might not be worth the effort either (unless your cat sits in front of one). But for large windows you can use the free energy from the sun to heat your home as well as warm your pets in the winter.

While this is an easy and effective technique, your big savings will come from caulking leaky windows and doors and insulating your home.

For more ways to save energy and money visit the Home Energy Checklist.