So you’re set on reducin g your carbon foot print by converting your house to a ‘Green’ Home. The first thought that often comes to mind in making this transition is solar panels. However, the second thought that also comes to mind is, ‘now what?’ To answer that question we need to think of the source of the problem not the symptom. Meaning, we should think of ways to not only provide alternative, clean energy to our home but seek to reduce the need for the use of energy consuming devices.
So what consumes the most energy in your house?
Coming in at number one of the most energy consuming devices in the house is the Home Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit (HVAC). In fact, cooling and heating represent roughly 50% of the average household’s energy consumption according to energystar.gov. I’m sure this comes at no surprise considering most homes utilize some sort of climate control around the clock through both the coldest and hottest times of the year.
What’s the solution for reducing the need of the HVAC?
The answer- solar shades.
Due to recent demand from the Green Movement, solar shades for windows have attained popularity for their role in reducing solar heat gain within the home. Thus, reducing the need to cool the home via HVAC use. As you can see in the diagram below, 48% of the heat gain in your home comes from the windows.
Solar shades absorb and reflect solar heat before entering the window. The difference when using solar shades are staggering. An impressive 88% of solar energy is reflected.
Usually, the dramatic reduction in heat gain means less need for your HVAC since rooms utilizing solar shades remain on average 20 degrees cooler. According to a University of Texas Study, a total of 32% in energy reduction from your HVAC can be expected. This not only means a thirty-two percent reduction of your homes energy consumptions but money in your pocket and another step toward sustainable living.
Notes: all solar shades are not created equal. Solar screens come in different openness factors which can affect the amount of solar heat reflected, view and privacy. Options start at 1% openness which reflect the most sun rays and are the hardest to see through. At 30% openness, less solar heat is reflected but you will be able to preserve the view from your window most. Depending on what is important to you, finding the right balance between reducing solar heat gain, privacy and preserving views will be determined by these openness factors.
Austin also blogs over at Blinds Galore.