If you're fortunate enough to own a home with a gorgeous sunrise view of mountains, water, or even wooded hills, you may already be investigating the idea of a wall of windows that will help you take full advantage of one of your home's best natural features. However, windows that face south or southeast can let in a significant amount of sunlight long after the colors of the sunrise have faded. Unless you live in a part of the country where the summer temperatures are rarely high enough to use air conditioning, you may find that your new windows come with a steep increase in your cooling costs. What can you do to reduce the greenhouse effect of your new window wall? Read on for several methods that can help you keep utility costs low both before and after construction.
For windows that are still in the planning phase:
Thinking through all the potential costs of your new windows before signing a contracting agreement can be wise. While you may be tempted to purchase the most inexpensive window glass available so that your construction dollars can stretch further, doing so can actually be counter-intuitive as you find yourself paying higher electricity bills for decades to come due to your windows' inability to block the sun's rays.
By investing in UV-resistant laminated glass for your new windows, you'll be able to receive the visual benefit of the sun's rays without soaking up the heat. This custom glass is identical in appearance to the tempered glass used in double-paned windows but has a protective outer layer that refracts sunlight, minimizing the heat transfer through your window. In addition to the financial benefits, this glass can also provide health and lifestyle benefits -- by blocking the majority of harmful UV rays from entering through your windows, laminated glass will reduce your risk of skin cancer due to inadvertent sun exposure, and can also minimize any fading of furniture or carpet directly exposed to window light.
For windows that have already been constructed:
If you didn't give much thought to the greenhouse effect until after you received your first post-construction electricity bill, you're likely wondering whether your only option is to cover these windows with heavy curtains throughout the day. Fortunately, there are several options that can allow you to use your windows year-round without paying the price.
- UV-resistant window film
Several companies have designed a clear tape-like film that can be applied to the outside of your windows to create the same UV-resistant effect as laminated glass. While you'll need to inspect this tape periodically and replace any areas that have begun to peel or crack, the application of this film can reap tremendous financial rewards by reducing your utility costs and preventing your furniture from premature fading.
Depending upon the size of your windows and the exterior landscape surrounding them, you may want to have this window film professionally installed. Dealing with gaps or bubbles can be frustrating, and you don't want to risk injury by falling from a tall ladder.
- Automatic room-darkening blinds
If you've found that the reflective qualities of your new windows become a bit scary at night, or if you'd just like the option of some instant privacy at a moment's notice, you may want to consider installing automatic blinds. Unlike the vinyl blinds you can purchase at home superstores, these customized blinds can be created in a variety of colors and styles -- from vertical blinds to Roman shades. Depending upon the ease of access to your home's electrical system, you may opt to make these blinds remote-controlled or simply wire them to a new wall switch that allows you to raise or lower the blinds as soon as you enter the room.Share