Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Greener View from Betty

Enjoy this month's tips from Betty on window treatments here or in the newsstands or at on Abode.

The windows in your home likely offer a beautiful view of the great outdoors, but did you know that they may be costing you as much as a fourth of your total heating/cooling expenses? So after you’ve caulked and weatherstripped your windows to reduce air leakage, Betty recommends purchasing eco-friendly window treatments. Blinds, shades, and draperies can reduce heat loss up to 10 percent in the winter and cut heat gain by 45 percent in the summer.

You’ll want to stay away from petroleum-based material like polyester, nylon or rayon and purchase organic cotton, linen, silk, or naturally fire-resistant wool. Ideally, buy a thick material that’s light-colored on one side and dark-colored on the other side so you can reverse them for the seasons. The drapes should overlap in the center and cover the window completely. When you clean them, opt for CO2 cleaning rather than the polluting percholoroethylene dry-cleaning.

Stay away from PVC or vinyl mini-blinds popular in the mid-‘90s, as some manufactured outside the U.S. contain lead. Unsure? Remove if installed before 1997. FSC-certified, low-VOC finish wood blinds are available at most online and brick-and-mortar retailers. However, roll-down or Roman shades made of natural bamboo, sisal, or other grass are a nice tree-friendly wood alternative.

At our home we did a combination of insulated natural grass blinds with a dark curtain for added efficiency. Until we could afford expensive new windows, this was an energy-smart solution.

Here's to blinds that help you see the green - in your pocket in terms of energy savings AND in your enviro-wise action!


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