How to Reduce your Energy Bills

by Creative Style Interiors

Are you throwing your money out the window?

Australia is a country of stunning natural beauty, and we most definitely love it! Our modern architecture is generally designed to make the most of our amazing light and the outdoors with large, panoramic windows.

That’s a lot of glass, and not everyone is aware glass, as a natural conductor allows heat to pass through it. In plain English, it’s terrible at keeping us warm in winter and cool in summer. On hot days it lets all the heat in and the opposite occurs in winter as warm air escapes from your home through the glass.

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Of course, the first place we turn is to artificial heating or cooling systems such as heaters, fans and air conditioners, but with gas and electricity costs rising rapidly they can be very expensive to run as Jenny found out the hard way. When she and Robert bought their last home she hated the existing window coverings so she pulled them all down. Never mind that it was the start of winter and it was going to take several weeks to get new ones. Her next power bills were horrendous and she quickly discovered that old bed sheets on the window will not keep you warm!

There are three ways to control the climate of your home and save money on heating and cooling: Tinting your existing windows, installing double glazed windows, and investing in window coverings such as curtains, blinds and shutters.

Tinting

Window tint is a film which adheres to the inside surface of a window. A quality tint can have a substantial impact on solar heat rejection in summer and improve the insulation power of single glazing by up to 90% in winter, but leaves you with 100% of your view.

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The tint will prevent most of the internal heat from escaping through the glass in winter, and a lot of the heat entering in summer. Window tinting creates a high level of daytime privacy, but at night, just turning on a light allows others to see in, making tinting a better option for windows where privacy isn’t an issue. Having a window tint installed is the most cost effective way to control your home’s temperature, without significantly affecting your home’s décor. However, the darker the tint, the more it will change the light in your space.

For more technical information on window tinting, visit www.enerlogicwindowfilms.com.au

Double Glazing

A double glazed window consists of two panes of glass that traps a layer of air or other gas and is designed to insulate against changes in temperature. Double-glazing is very popular in the UK and colder parts of the USA to keep the cold winter chill at bay, and is also a standard fitting for aircraft.

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That little pocket of trapped gas keeps the inside layer of glass from changing to anything but room temperature, so while well known for keeping the cold out in winter, double-glazed windows are just as efficient against the heat in summer. It also has the added benefit of acoustic control and increased safety for apartments, though unfortunately offers no privacy. Double-glazed windows need to be installed professionally and can be quite costly, but you will definitely reap the thermal benefits without losing your natural lighting or view. If you live in a very cold or very hot climate, tinting can also be added to a double-glazed window for added thermal benefits.

For more information on double-glazing, visit www.build.com.au

Window Coverings

Curtains, blinds and shutters are a great decorative option to insulate your home. Sheer curtains and translucent blinds are excellent for daytime privacy, but have a limited effect on heating and cooling. A block-out window covering not only looks attractive, but also works to insulate against outside temperatures.

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More Than Curtains conducted an experiment with two thermometers in a room with a block out curtain and pelmet covering the window. “The outside temperature was 30 degrees. Immediately inside the window registered 38 degrees, but on the other side of the curtain, that is, in the room, the temperature was a lovely 25 degrees!” The air space between the glass and the curtain acted similarly to the air space between double-glazing (although not quite as effective). Ideally, a block out curtain with a pelmet is the best window covering for insulation because there are no gaps for air to escape into the room through, though block out blinds and shutters are still a good alternative. Blinds, curtains and shutters can be costly, but they are functional and decorative with the added benefits of light control and privacy.

If you’re still unsure of which treatment would best suit your home and lifestyle, or if you need assistance in choosing the ideal fabric for your window coverings, feel free to call me on 0416 190 792 or email me at jenny@creativestyle.com.au. Also visit my Pinterest page for some home inspiration.

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