If you have south or west facing windows, you know the glare and heat of a summer afternoon's sunshine. You may be concerned about expensive computers overheating or worried about artwork and fabric fading from long-term exposure to the intense sun. It may be difficult to keep a room with south or west facing windows as cool as rooms in the rest of the home.
There are plenty of energy-saving window treatments available, from thermal drapes to coated films. But window screens made of UV-blocking mesh are a relatively new option. Here are 3 reasons why they are the energy-saving answer for some sun-baked windows:
1) They increase your summer comfort.
As this comparison chart shows, whether you install solar screens on the inside or the outside of your home, they will help you stay cooler and more comfortable in the summer. They also offer UV protection, ventilation, glare control and great visibility compared to awnings and blinds.
If you've taken to sealing your home up in summertime with drapery or shades to keep the heat out, you lose the brightness of daylight. Even though you're cooler, your dark, tomb-like home can seem cheerless and may even negatively affect your mood. With solar screens, you keep the view.
You can also easily open windows to let in cool breezes without the trouble of opening drapes, blinds or shutters. The screens will continue to block the sun's hot rays while you enjoy the fresh air.
2) You have lots of options and choices with solar screens.
Solar screens come in many colors from white to black. You can choose sand colored screens for an adobe type home, green screens for a brick home or black screens for a modern residence. The darker the screen, the more light and heat it will block, but you will still get protection from even the lightest colored screens.
You can select screens that block nearly all of the light entering windows or choose screens that block only a portion of the sun's rays. Remember that the more protective the screen, the less the visibility. With a 90% blocking screen, for example, you will have a more grainy appearance when looking out the window, but you will still have a view.
There are several styles of screens to choose from, including standard exterior screens, interior mounted screens, screen fabric that you fasten to windows without a frame and automatic roller screens that can be raised or lowered with the push of a button.
Standard screens run around $45 each, while motorized units cost about $500 per window.
3) Some energy programs will help you pay for your solar screens.
There are energy grants, subsidies and rebate programs that may help pay for your solar screens. Check with your energy company first to see if they have an energy-efficient window rebate program. Next, contact your state department of energy to find out if you qualify for any weatherization programs that subsidize solar window screens.
Some of these programs are only available to seniors or to low-income homeowners, while other programs apply to all residents regardless of age or income.
Again, a good way to find out about these rebate programs is to check with your local power company and your state department of energy. This website also provides information on state incentives for energy-efficient home upgrades.
For more information, contact Desert Shutters and Shades / Solar Screens or a similar company.