Cooling and heating your entire home can be an expensive undertaking. An energy department report from July 2012 indicates that while the price of natural gas has gradually decreased since 1984 – making it cheaper for utilities to produce electricity – these savings aren’t being carried over to the consumer. In fact, U.S. electricity prices are going up. These inflated prices have caused many people to seek out ways to make their homes more energy efficient.
Windows Create Energy Leaks
Poorly insulated windows and doors cause the biggest energy wastes in a home, significantly raising heating costs. It is estimated that energy loss through windows alone accounts for up to 35 percent of your heating bill. You can spot drafts in your home by holding a flame or thread up near doors and windows, tracking the level of movement to see where energy is escaping the most. Selecting energy-efficient window treatments is one way to counteract this expensive energy loss. In this regard, one of the most functional and attractive options on the market is plantation shutters. Once properly fitted to a window, they provide an insulating pocket of air between the glass and interior of your home.
Increased Efficiency Through Higher R-value
When selecting an energy-saving window treatment, R-value becomes an important indicator for energy savings and insulation capability. R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used by the building and construction industry. It is a standardized rating system that indicates the ability to resist heat and air conditioning loss of transfer. The Smart Energy Alliance reports that wooden plantation shutters have R-values between 2.77 and 3.17, nearly doubling the insulating capabilities of a standard, double-paned glass window.
Wood and vinyl plantation shutters are both effective insulators. However, wood is slightly better at resisting temperature conductivity. Since the shutters fit snuggly in the window frames, they also limit the transfer of heat through air movement or convection. This is what forms the insulating barrier between outdoor temperatures and the interior temperature of your house.
Energy Savings and Cost Effectiveness
Though the installation of plantation shutters is higher upfront than other window treatments, it truly pays off over the years in the form of energy savings. A typical house with 15 windows featuring these green window treatments can achieve an average annual savings of $150. Within about 15 years, plantation shutters have paid for themselves in energy savings and increased the value of your home. Besides reducing energy costs, some window coverings qualify for an energy-efficiency tax credit. The credit offers a 30 percent rebate on the cost of the coverings (minus installation costs) up to $1,500.