One of the easiest ways to save energy by keeping the heat outside and cool air inside your home is to block out the sun that shines through the windows. More than 40 percent of the heat gain inside the home in the summer comes from windows, according to the Arizona Power System (APS). There are several window treatments available that will keep the sun out and reduce this unwanted heat in your house.
Install external shades on your windows to stop the sun's heat before it ever reaches the glass of the windows, according to APS. External shades are made of aluminum, fiberglass or mesh louvers that can be closed to stop the sun's rays short of the window itself.
External shades are seven times more effective in blocking out sunlight and its associated heat that regular blinds installed inside the window. Some models are made so that they can easily be removed during the winter when the sun is not as intense.
Install awnings over windows on the side of your house that receives the most intense sunlight during the day. This method adds a stylish look to the outside of some homes and will allow light to enter the room while blocking out the rays of the midday sun, according to APS.
Reflective window film is applied by sticking it directly to the glass on the inside of your windows.
Apply window film to your windows for the most effective interior window treatment against solar heat, according to APS. This method is just as effective as external shades and it allows you to see out the window into your yard. Window film is permanent and should not be taken down at the end of each summer. Because of this fact, window film is not recommended on southern facing windows, as it will prevent passive heat gain in the home during cooler months. Passive heat gain will cut down your heating bill in the winter.
Blinds and Curtains
Interior blinds, shades or curtains are effective in blocking out the effects of the sun, according to APS.
Hang curtains or blinds that have a white or light-colored surface facing toward the window glass for the best barrier to solar heat. These window treatments will not be as effective as external shades, but they will make a significant difference in heat and will do almost as well in blocking out the light from the sun.
Think ahead when you plan landscaping outside your windows. Trees planted in appropriate places will shade the windows during the most intense parts of the summer. Study the direction of the sun during the hottest months when you want sunlight blocked from your windows and plant tress that will be in the sun's path. This is an especially good idea if you would rather allow some ambient light through your windows without the harsh rays.
Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.