Eco-Friendly Window Coverings
Feng Shui embraces the art of conscious living which aligns our inner space with our outer environment. It is called mindful living.
Green design is in complete alignment with Feng Shui. Both promote honoring the Earth and leaving a lighter imprint and acknowledge that the earth is a living organism with finite resources and must be protected and honored as such. Feng Shui was the original purveyor of reduce, recycle, reuse, which is exactly what green design is about. The exciting news is that you can now find beautiful products that anyone would love to have in their home, and be a responsible “green” consumer!
In this fifth article of my series on the Green Home, I continue my conversation with Diana Zamudio, Owner and Founder of eco-6 design. Diana is a specialist in Green Design as well as Feng Shui and is the teacher for the Green Design Program at my West Coast Feng Shui Academy.
Previously we discussed eco-friendly wall finishes, eco-friendly flooring, and eco-friendly counter tops, along with an overview of a Green Home Remodel. Today we will discuss eco-friendly window-coverings.
In the following Q & A, I asked Diana to talk about eco-friendly window coverings.
Q. Can you tell me what makes a window covering eco-friendly?
A. There are different factor that makes any product eco-friendly. We ask these four questions:
- Is it sustainable?
- Is it made of non-toxic, natural materials?
- It is made of recycled content?
- It is energy efficient?
More and more window covering companies are removing toxins from their products, using more natural materials along with content that that has been recycled. Hunter Douglas Window Coverings is one of the leading companies that are keeping up with the green movement.
Q. What is the main factor to consider when considering eco-friendly window coverings?
A. When it comes to windows and window coverings, energy conservation is the main factor that makes window coverings eco-friendly. Without energy-efficient window treatments, as much as 50 percent of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows. I only use the Hunter Douglas line because I feel they are the leader in both energy efficiency and green materials.There are other companies that have a great line of products that are made with materials that are green, and/or are energy efficient, but Hunter Douglas has both. These window fashions provide window insulation, offering your home increased protection against heat loss during the winter, as well as minimizing the sun’s heat or “solar heat” during the summer.
(Note to reader, I don’t get commissions for recommending products in my articles and am not a rep for these companies. Diana Zamudio does carry these lines in her store at eco6design.)
Q. Can you tell me how these products conserve energy?
A. All of their products conserve energy at the window in these three significant ways:
It’s a scientific fact that heat is attracted to cold. In winter months, indoor heating moves toward and escapes through windows to the outdoors, while in summertime, the outside heat flows into your home through these same windows. Many Hunter Douglas window fashions boast high ‘R-values’ which is the measure of a product’s ability to resist heat flow helping reduce energy consumption, save on heating and cooling costs, and creating a more comfortable room.
2. Solar Heat Control: The warmth provided by the sun- which is its solar energy- may be desirable during the winter to help heat your home, but it can make a room overly hot and uncomfortable while driving up air conditioning costs in the summer. Many Hunter Douglas products are designed to reduce the amount of solar heat that passes through the window, which is known as the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The lower the SHGC, the more protected your home is from the sun’s heat. To enjoy the sun’s warmth when desired, simply raise or open the window treatment and invite it in.
3. Daylignting: Hunter Douglas window coverings enhance day lighting (the use of natural light) by diffusing and dispersing sunlight deep into a room, reducing your need for electrical lighting. In the winter, heat leaves through the window when you need it, yet becomes trapped inside in the summer when you don’t. Heat loss and gain drive our energy usage up. It can be felt in our monthly utility bills and calculated in our collective carbon emissions.
Hunter Douglas is committed to lowering our energy usage and implementing other changes that will ultimately reduce our carbon footprint by 20%. Their goal is to help customers everywhere save energy the natural way by effectively channeling and exploiting the natural power of the sun. They are a very good company and the most eco-friendly of all of the window covering companies that I have found.
Their most recent innovation, DuetteŽ ArchitellaŽ honeycomb shades, takes energy conservation to a new level. Its patented honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb construction forms three air pockets to reduce heat flow at the window and saves on both heating and cooling costs. Precious energy resources are conserved, as well, and the home’s carbon footprint is significantly reduced.
Q. What is the price range?
A. These products have a varying price range depending upon what product you are purchasing and are one of the most popular window covering companies around. Window coverings are an investment in your home, no matter what company you go with. Hunter Douglas ranges from affordable to pricey depending upon what you are looking for. I suggest you check with your local retailer of Hunter Douglas products.
Q. Where can you get these products?
A. Hunter Douglas products are carried at many stores, including most of the larger retailers. I also carry these products at my store at eco6design and will ship them anywhere in the U.S. as well.
A. Thank you Diana for your expert advise!
I also researched other window covering lines and there are other companies that are committed to green excellence as well. Some of the ones that looked the most committed to eco-friendly products were Blinds Chalet, Sierra Club Green Home, and Inhabitat Design . Please share with us if you have others you recommend. When it comes to the environment, not all window coverings are equal. Each type of window treatment has a different functionality. Some are designed with insulation in mind, some are made from earth friendly and recyclable materials, and some do all of the above. You can also use the shades you have and add a blackout liner to a bamboo shade and it will increase the energy efficiency. The important thing is to get those windows covered! If you have the budget to purchase green/eco-friendly window coverings, you will be making a significant contribution towards reducing the energy footprint of your home.
For more articles on the Green Home Remodel with Diana Zamudio please see:
The author, Erica Sofrina is the founder of the Academy of Feng Shui and offers a Green Design program at her Feng Shui Academy. For more on her Green Design program please visit her web site. She can be reached at www.ericasofrina.com.
All photos courtesy of Hunter Douglas web site