Windows can make or break a space. They bring the beauty of nature indoors, and suffuse our homes and businesses with life-giving, natural light. But they can also be a drain on the environment and our pocketbooks.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of a home’s energy is lost through its windows, and the U.S. Department of Energy reports that windows can be responsible for up to 25 percent of residential heating costs.
Today, decades of research have resulted in windows that are dramatically more efficient than those of yesteryear. Still, full-scale window replacement can be a costly proposition, and, for renters, might not even be possible.
That’s no cause for alarm, however, because many of the same benefits can be obtained by retrofitting existing windows. By carefully selecting your window treatments, it is possible to reduce energy consumption, save on heating and cooling costs and keep your interior climate in check.
Cellular – or honeycomb – shades are one of the most energy-efficient window covering options on the market.
The unique, accordion-style design of these shades creates pockets of air, which help insulate interiors from outdoor temperature shifts.
A recent report, commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, found homeowners could save nearly as much by retrofitting existing windows as by purchasing new ones – and at significantly lower cost. In most cases, the report concluded, retrofitting produced a better return on investment.
According to the report, homeowners can save between 5 and 15 percent – or between $85 and $324 – on their annual energy costs just by installing cellular shades. Those savings translated to a return on investment of as much as 7.8 percent.