Living deep in the woods, my family has enjoyed the luxury of not needing window treatments. The only potential Peeking Toms we’re vulnerable to are curious squirrels, woodpeckers or atypically brazen deer. We’ve decided to look into window treatment options, however, for three reasons: 1) To create a more “finished” look in certain rooms, 2) To lengthen the time our children sleep. When the sun rises, they do too, even on weekends; and 3) To increase energy efficiency in our home.
So, where do eco-friendliness, functionality and aesthetics meet? The main thing to look for is 100 percent natural fabrics and materials. Many window treatments are made with some form of plastic, be it polyester or vinyl, which release toxic gasses when warmed by the sun. Instead check out these resources for green window treatments:
1. Naturally dyed curtains or drapes made of fabrics such as cotton, linen or hemp are a great choice. Anna Sova’s line of organic drapery includes 100 percent natural silk drapes, made with no toxic bleaches, heavy metal dyes, formaldehyde or silicon finishing.
2. Shutters provide insulation in both cold and hot weather. Look for shutters made of bamboo or sustainably harvested Basswood. Basswood shutters are widely available.
Just make sure that if the shutters have a coating on them, it is water-based.
3. Shades – Earthshade’s shades are made of high quality reed, bamboo, hemp and “rapidly-renewable” grasses. No chemical coating is used, and all shades promise a high degree of insulation.
Before making a purchase, be sure to ask your retailer or manufacturer about the R-value of your preferred treatment so that you’ll know how much insulation it will provide. The higher the value, the more energy-efficient the product is. Shoot for an R-value around 3.