Going Green: Environment Friendly Window Ideas

Window coverings help to reduce the costs of heating and cooling a home and fortunately many affordable and eco-friendly window treatments are available.
One way to go green with your window treatments is by creating draperies or curtains from natural hemp or linen. These materials are easily recycled and harmless to the environment. Choosing fabrics that are made from recycled materials like plastic bottles reduces non-biodegradable waste. For years, harmful fumes wreaked havoc on allergy sufferers, creating the demand for materials that were chemical free and environmentally safe. In fact, a vast majority of traditional fabrics contained herbicides, pesticides or carcinogens in the finishing process. But today the options for dye-free fabrics or those that use eco-safe dyes are endless. And many allergy sufferers are choosing non-toxic fabrics with anti-microbial and anti-fungal traits woven into the yarn as well as those that are stain-resistant, mildew and mold-resistant.
Today's ever increasing energy costs are a constant reminder to all of us to reduce our electricity and natural gas consumption as much as possible. One way to reduce energy consumption is through window coverings. When windows are uncovered, they are not energy efficient and increase the need to raise or lower thermostat settings. An uncovered window in the hottest weather can increase an air conditioner's workload by 50%.
Installing high-performance windows is one way to combat this problem. High performance windows help reduce energy costs, condensation and color fading due to sunlight. Another option is light-controlled motorized shades. Controlled by a hand-held remote control or through wall electrical switches, light-controlled motorized shades are ideal for large windows or skylights because the homeowner can open or close the window treatments by simply pushing a button.
If you're considering energy-efficient window shades, you'll want to consider the "shading coefficient," a measure of the window treatment's ability to reduce solar heat gain. The lower the number, the less solar heat entering your home and the lower your cooling and heating bills will be. Honeycomb cell shades, wood and faux wood blinds are better at energy conservation than aluminum blinds or roller shades.
Made of natural materials, bamboo blinds and shades are an eco-friendly option that gives rooms an Asian look and feel while controlling the light and heat in a home. Wood and faux wood blinds, shades and shutters also insulate windows, preventing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
When it comes to designing home interiors, more and more homeowners today are interested in going green. Many accomplish this by choosing window coverings made out of environmentally sustainable raw materials like bamboo, linen, silk and other natural fibers that haven't been treated with chemicals harmful to the environment.
Installing high-performance windows, light-controlled motorized shades or energy-efficient window treatments or shutters are ways homeowners can conserve energy and save money on their energy bills in addition to protecting furniture, framed photographs, flooring and other belongings from the sun's harmful rays.