The Impact of Draperies on Energy Costs
19.12.2020 GREEN LIVING 0.0 0

energy-efficient home

Window coverings such as draperies or curtains, quilts, shades, blinds, etc., do not just raise the comfort level of a dwelling. Their installation and proper use can also help achieve a significant reduction in energy loss through the windows. A home loses about 30% of its heat energy through windows. 

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), approximately 76% of sunlight that enters a house through a standard double-pane window turns into heat. While most window treatments will provide some energy savings; the exact savings, however, depend on factors such as:

  • The type of window covering or attachment 
  • The season 
  • The climate 
  • How the window covering is used 

Here in this post, we will discuss the impact of draperies on energy costs.

Draperies Impact on Energy Costs

Both curtains and drapes are interior fabric attachments. While curtains are sized to fit a window, drapes are hung all the way to the floor in a home or office. So, it’s important to understand how to measure for drapes or curtains, especially if you take it up as a DIY project. Many people end up doing it wrong, whether they shop online or buy drapes at a local store.

How well a drapery can reduce heat loss/gain during the winters/summers depends on numerous factors such as the color and type of fabric.

Since there are hundreds of different types of draperies available, it’s difficult to generalize their impact on energy costs.

As it is the case with any other window treatment, a tight seal is required for maximum energy saving.

If you are yet to install draperies, make sure they are as close to the window as possible and cover the entire area from the ceiling to the floor. You can either hang the drapery from a cornice or place it against the ceiling. There is no dearth of mounting or styling options for draperies.

Draperies sealed at the two ends (of a window) and overlapping in the middle provide a tight seal against heat loss/gain.

Drapes can be attached to the wall at all four corners with help of a magnetic tape or Velcro. Instead of using just one wide drape to cover a window, use two drapes to create a tighter air seal and increase the energy-saving efficiency of your window covering.

With these simple-to-follow tips, it is possible to reduce heat loss by as much as 25%, according to the DoE. This results in a proportional saving in energy consumption.   

So, if you are currently spending $500 per month to maintain the temperature in your house or office, you stand to save up to $1,500 per year by making one investment – installing drapes.

Full-length draperies don’t just help with energy savings, they also complement the color scheme, blend with your upholstery, and enhance the comfort level of a living/work space. Draperies will last many years. So, it’s a good idea not to rush through the decision and buy low quality drapes.

Draperies Impact on Energy Costs during the Summer Season  

During the summer season, you need to minimize heat gain. So, be sure to close window draperies that receive direct sunlight.

According to the studies, you can reduce solar heat gain during the summer months by almost 33% if you keep the windows closed with medium-colored drapes having a white-plastic backing.

Open your draperies now and then, especially during the rainy season or when they remain closed during the day, to release condensation between the window glass and fabric, if any.  Doing so will not only discourage mold growth but also save wood frames from prolonged exposure to moisture and the resulting rot.

Draperies Impact on Energy Costs during the Winter Season  

You can save up to 10% in energy costs during the winter season by keeping the drapes drawn. For maximum energy savings, be sure to keep all draperies close at night. During the day, close all draperies except the ones that receive direct sunlight.

Yes, Even Standard Drapery Can Help You Save On Energy Costs

When it comes to older, drafty homes that aren’t airtight, heat can escape or enter the indoor environment quite easily.

Even with standard drapery, you can save up to one third on energy bills, depending upon the type of drapery fabric, and whether your house has single or double pane windows.

Some experts claim that the amount of electricity spent on maintaining indoor temperature can be cut by nearly half if you go for heavyweight or thermal-resistant drapery.

Although drafty homes benefit the most with closed drapery, airtight single-homes or apartments should use the drapes in a different way. Keeping drapes open during the day means letting in sufficient sun’s rays to keep the space warm.

Final Words

The impact of drapery on energy costs is significant. If you add up the energy savings, it actually turns out to be a huge total.

When you evaluate various window treatments such as shades, blinds, drapes, awnings, high reflectivity film, mesh window screens, etc. for both their energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal, drapes turn out to be a popular choice among homeowners and small businesses. So, until you have an off-grid solar electric system at your disposal, consider planning for smart home improvements that help you save money on monthly bills in the long run. 


About the Author

Michelle is an interior designer at Westlake Village Upholstery and Drapery with over 20 years of experience in fabric and custom window treatments. She offers clients in Southern California a new experience in traditional and modern design. 


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TAGS:green living, energy-efficient home, energy efficiency

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