Nahel Selo, Creative Director of Sedar Global, shares his top recommendations for reducing solar heat in the home through clever window treatment design.
Whether it’s a pair of drapes hung to frame a pleasant view or a cheery striped awning floating above a window, homeowners often dress up their windows for beauty rather than function. But with the right materials and proper placement, these decorations might help lower your monthly energy bills.
Window shades or roman blinds are the simplest and most effective way to save energy with window treatments. Proper instalment is key. Mounting shades as close to the glass as possible and right up against the adjacent wall creates a tight seal that minimises heat gain. Shades with dual layers of fabric — a light colour on one side and a darker colour on the other— add more functionality. There is even the possibility to reverse the shades based on the season; the light colour will reflect heat in summer, while the dark colour will absorb heat during winter.
Nahel Selo Creative Director at Sedar Global comments: “Shades have become increasingly popular over curtains in recent years due to their flexibility, so any window orientation is suitable. They are best used in kitchens and bathrooms due to their convenient structure they add practicality to the space” adding “the most popular fabrics used in this sense are cotton, linen, or jute, which are placed on slats to form the construction however for bathrooms roller blinds are best in vinyl or PVC as they are mould-resistant and easy to wipe clean.”
Depending on fabric weight and colour, drapes help insulate your home from both solar heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Medium-colour palette drapes with a white plastic backing can reduce solar heat gain by as much as 33 percent if left closed during hot months. As with other window treatments, a tight seal is needed for maximum performance. Hang drapes from a cornice or right up to the ceiling down to the floor and position them as close to the window as possible. Selo suggests: “Be cautious when picking fabrics, for example it is important to assess how much sunlight comes in your room. If your room has a lot of sunlight go for less brighter colours and they tend to fade overtime. If it is a bedroom and you need to sleep in complete darkness, then opt for thicker fabrics and be careful with choosing designs that use 100% silk as people tend to forget that silk is more prone to damage from sunlight.”
Smart Window Control
With a growing focus on comfort many people are choosing convenience and customers are opting for smart window control solutions. This means installing smart sun sensors that control the opening and closing of curtains according to the intensity of the sun, they can be set to automatic or controlled via a smartphone or remote control. Selo adds: “Throughout our stores across the GCC we are seeing a great demand for our Somfy Conexoon system which gives homeowners the option to set timers instructing your curtains or blinds to open and close at certain times when the sun is at its peak. This is great to save on AC costs, protect animals, plants and furniture from the heat of the sun – especially during long periods when people may be out of the country throughout the summer months.”
Awnings not only add personality to a home’s exterior but offer an excellent defence against the sun in areas with perpetually hot weather. Exterior awnings can reduce solar heat gain in properties by over 50% depending on direction the window is facing. Similar to curtains and blinds many shoppers across the region are opting to also fix smart solutions to awnings which allow them to extract and retract according to when the sun is it its peak, similarly an automated system can be installed to retract awnings if winds become strong. Selo adds: “Awnings are an extremely cost-effective way of reducing sunlight from entering in rooms and also allow use of porch and outdoor spaces throughout the year without being exposed to harmful rays.”
How To Style It
Apart from reducing solar heat gain other factors to consider when choosing window solutions for your home include how to still maintain desired light for a space, ventilation and privacy as well as being on trend in terms of style.
Selo says: “By merely looking and touching the fabric, you can tell what kind it is and how suitable it is for your room. If it has a heavy thick appearance and texture, know that this is suitable for a richer cosy look and is more likely to hold and flow nicely. The shinier the fabric, the more likely it will give off a luxury feel. Opting for matt fabrics is very on trend right now and perfect if you’re room is more modern rather than classical. For those who are looking to play with light in certain spaces fabrics such as tulle and linens can accompany curtains for a backdrop dual soft effect.”
Adding “Choose patterns that suit your room. If you have low ceilings opt for designs that are more vertical to give more height to your room. The beauty about bespoke drapes, is that you can mix and match between designs to see what suits your room the most. Simple is always better. Always install your curtains higher than the windows to give more height to the room ceilings and always have your curtains lightly touch the floor instead of well above the floor, as this adds more elegance to the window space.”