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A window to improved thermal performance

As Australia heads into the depths of winter and Ugg boots become a staple rather than a fashion statement, consumers are looking for new ways to improve thermal efficiency and reduce energy costs in their homes.

Maximising insulation is one of the most effective ways to control a home’s comfort, and one of the easiest ways to do that is via the windows.

A transparent problem

According to Your Home, Australian homes lose up to 40 per cent of their heating energy through their windows. On the flip side, up to 87 per cent of the heat a home gains comes through its windows.

Group Marketing Manager at Luxaflex Window Fashions, Vera Meharg, says insulation is key to maintaining room temperatures. A few simple changes can help make homes far more energy efficient.

“The right window coverings work to reduce the energy demand of a home, which is the most direct way to lower energy bills,” says Meharg.

The simplest and cheapest way to keep heat indoors during winter is to keep existing blinds and shutters closed. This helps to keep the heat in at night or during the day if no one is home. In general, Meharg recommends letting in the sunlight during the day to naturally heat up the room.

An alternative to blinds is to use a form of film, such as bubble wrap, to cover the windows. This can assist with letting in natural heat during the day and keeping the room warm. There are also window films specifically designed to assist with window insulation that can be applied to the inside of the windows.

Well-fitted blockout blinds (or blackout blinds) can also save between 20–30 per cent in energy usage. The blockout blinds need to fit snugly to the window frame to help keep cold air from entering and hot air from escaping.

Glazing over

Many new builds across Australia now require double-glazed windows to meet standard energy requirements. In the case of older builds, homeowners can look into retrofitting a secondary glaze to their existing windows.

Although a more expensive option, secondary glazing can also help cut minimise noise from outside.

Meharg also recommends smaller, practical tips such as keeping blinds closed while you’re at work to trap the heat.

“The role of window coverings goes beyond aesthetics,” she says. “Recognising which types of window shades are insulating, sustainable and beneficial for long-term use will assist when making window covering decisions, and can reduce heating costs.”

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