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Cut Costs While Keeping Cool


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With the waxing of the summer equinox, we shall soon reach a peak in temperatures. With this comes an escalation in A/C costs and a search for ways in which to dash such expenses. While standard mesh window screens can diffuse solar radiation, there remain alternative fixtures of equal effectiveness that are often neglected when not used for their novelty. This is rather a shame, for when paired with standard window treatments – curtains, shades and the lot – their energy saving properties can parallel the efforts of air cooling and heating systems.

Take, for example, the following:


Masking walls in ivy can shield your home from ultra-violet lights and lower temperature fluctuation by 50 percent. They are also an effective means of insulation in the winter, able to reduce heat demand by as much as 25 percent. Additionally, if you don’t mind the potential of housing what plebeian lore considers pests, vines provide an ideal habitat for insects and a variety of aviary creatures to keep your walls singing.


On windows with southern exposures, awnings can reduce solar-heat gain up to 65 percent, and account for a reduction of up to 77 percent for windows with western exposures.

Households that implement awnings can cut air cooling costs by 26 percent in hot climates and 33 percent in cooler climates. Check that awnings are properly ventilated to ensure no hot air is trapped around windows.

Operating  Shutters

While many windows are ushered by these vented planks, they are now-days often decorative. And there really is little measure in their effectiveness if they are to remain mounted astride opposing sides of the window. When shielding windows, both interior and exterior shutters reduce heat gain and loss. Louvered shutters are best for the summer and, if adjustable, provide good ventilation and light filtration.

Interior and Exterior Blinds

On a sunny window, closed interior blinds can reduce heat gain by up to 45 percent if they are highly reflective. If paired with a light-colored ceiling, slats can be adjusted to block and diffuse sunlight without glare or heat. Exterior blinds are mounted above the window and often made of wood, aluminum, or vinyl. If lowered completely, exterior blinds provide adequate shade while preventing too much heat from gathering around the window.


Perhaps the most common feature to adorn a window, drapes are more than a means of privacy. They are a simple yet adequate way to moderate indoor temperatures, with the potential to reduce heat gains by 33 percent. The longer your drapes or curtains, the better. An optimal length drape will reach the windowsill or floor. It is also more effective to hang two drapes together than one drape, as they create tighter air-space. During the winter, it is best to keep draperies drawn at night, preventing heat loss of up to 10 percent in warm rooms.

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