Heating costs can be expensive to navigate in the winter. With the increased cost of living, you can save money by utilizing the sun’s natural energy in your home. With up to 30% of your home’s energy being lost through your windows, an effective window treatment and triple pane windows can make your home more efficient. In this blog, we dive deep into passive solar energy and how it can help you save money this winter.
What is passive solar energy?
Passive solar energy is the heat collected from the sun and stored in the materials of your home, such as flooring. All items have a thermal mass (how much heat they can store and distribute) which contributes to their effectiveness in heating your home. While there are homes purpose-built for passive solar heating and cooling, you can utilize these principles in your existing home without an expensive renovation.
In passive homes, windows are oriented towards the sun and are built to maximize sun exposure in the winter months and shade the home in the summer. These principles can be adapted to your home through smart blinds and energy-efficient windows.
What is the efficiency difference between single, double, & triple-pane windows?
Many old homes contain single-pane glazing (window glass), which is cost-effective as it is simpler to install and has fewer components. However, single-pane windows are also the least efficient glazing for your home––where high-efficiency windows are the best option for retaining heat through the long winter months.
Double-pane windows add a layer of protection with an argon gas or air pocket between two panes of glass. This layer increases the window’s efficiency and adds increased noise reduction––which is a bonus if you live in a city like Regina, Saskatoon, or Prince George. Our Durabuilt windows feature a mono-frame design which prevents drafts and exceeds today’s energy and structural requirements for homes.
Triple-pane windows are a big investment but provide superior protection against sound and heat gain/loss. In Western Canada, these windows are the best way to protect yourself from the elements and create an energy-efficient home. Even if you replace your windows over time, a total replacement of your existing windows is necessary to see the energy-saving benefits of either triple or dual-pane windows.
Adding additional ventilation to your home is important to reduce and prevent condensation when replacing your windows. Dual and Triple-pane windows increase the overall thermal barrier of your home, reducing or eliminating drafts––while this is a benefit for energy efficiency, it means heat recovery systems will play a larger role in your home. If you notice condensation on your new windows, read our information sheet to learn more about prevention.
How can I use window treatments to benefit from passive solar energy?
Any window covering will provide minimal insulation between your home and the outdoors. However, you can now purchase window coverings designed specifically to provide insulation and prevent heat loss in the winter months. At Denovo, we work with Hunter Douglas window coverings to provide maximum protection from the elements with gorgeous shades to match your home’s interior style. So which window coverings are the most effective?
- Cellular Shades
During the cold winter months, you can use your window treatments to your advantage while maintaining your home’s privacy. Cellular shades with a top-down, bottom-up installation option can allow light into your home from the top while still preventing people from looking inside––these are an excellent option for your ground floor or low windows on your upper floors.
The cellular shade design, with its insulating honeycomb structure, is an excellent way to control light and up your home’s energy efficiency. Allow as much peak sunlight as possible into your home in the winter months. When the early night cools off, close the blinds to insulate your home and maintain daytime warmth.
- Curtains with blinds
Heavy drapery can reduce or prevent air exchange between the cold window and the warm room for a more luxurious and chic look. Velvet, tweed, wool, thermal curtains, and other heavyweight fabrics are great insulators and can prevent heat loss during the night. Draperies that fully enclose the window and go to the floor can prevent up to 40% heat loss! If you are looking for a refined and traditional way to keep your home warmer this winter, this drapery option, paired with Hunter Douglas roller or sheer shades, is a perfect choice!
Harness passive solar energy in your home while you’re at work!
The most efficient way to use your window coverings to your advantage is to install smart blinds in your home. Smart technology allows you to program your blinds to open and close at the appropriate time of day to maximize their energy efficiency. When paired with our energy-efficient window coverings, automated blinds provide passive solar benefits to your home at a fraction of the cost!
Western Canada, stay warm this winter with Denovo Window & Door!
Book your free consultation today to learn about energy-efficient windows and window treatment options. Whether you’re looking for a traditional or modern, contemporary feel, we can incorporate passive home principles into your home. Find your perfect window coverings, or reach out to us for off-season window installations today!