According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 120 million homes that are five years or older and many are in desperate need of energy-efficiency updates. While studies have proven that the largest portion of a home’s energy demand comes from the heating and cooling of the interior, many families are not in a position to make costly updates. Homeowners are however taking matters into their own hands and searching for simple and effective do-it-yourself solutions.
Easy Energy Saving Solutions. According to the ENERGY STAR® PROGRAM, research studies report that poorly insulated windows in heating-dominated climates account for up to 25 percent of a typical home’s heating cost and that in cooling-dominated climates, windows account for up to 50 percent of the cooling cost.
Cellular shade window treatments, like the ones offered by Bali, allow homeowners to reduce their energy bills with style. Cellular shades can improve the thermal performance of a home by minimizing heat loss through trapping air within the “cells” of the shades. These trapped-air pockets create a layer of insulation that keep homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This insulating effect reduces energy consumption, increases comfort and lowers energy bills. Not only do cellular shades save you money and look great, they also provide the highest sound absorption of any window treatment.
In our home, we have cellular shades on all the first floor windows and I can tell you they make a big difference in winter comfort. Besides adding a layer of internal insulation, the shades interrupt the natural convective air flow that can create a chill. Typically, as warm heated air strikes a window, it chills and falls, creating a feeling of a draft. Cellular shades reduce this and increase comfort.
The gaps around the windows and doors in an average American house are the equivalent of a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in the wall. Homeowners can use caulk and weather-strip to seal off these air leaks. Stopping air leaks in a home can save as much as 40 percent on a home’s heating and cooling costs.
To further reduce energy bills, homeowners can:
- Stop air from escaping under doors with “sweeps” or “shoes” attached to the bottom.
- Use window putty to seal gaps around loose window panes.
- Take advantage of the heat from the sun when possible by opening shades on the southern and eastern windows during the day and closing these shades when the sun goes down to keep the heat from escaping.
- Install foam gaskets behind all the light switches and electrical outlet covers, even interior walls, to help seal the holes created when the outlets and light switches are built into homes. Use child safety plugs in all electrical outlets to keep the cold air from coming in through the sockets
Programmable thermostats that have earned the ENERGY STAR label help save money and keep a home comfortable by automatically adjusting the temperature settings while you are asleep or away, resulting in a savings of approximately $100 per year.