Window Products Management is your source for information, services, and products to help you manage and minimize heat loss through the windows of your home or facility. We offer fenestration and energy consultation, project design and management, and all the window treatments fenestration projects call for. We work with large-scale construction projects and existing facilities, from art museums and commercial facilities to hospitals and private estates. Our service is fully-scalable to your needs.
When designing a plan for your heat loss management, there will be several decisions that need to be answered. In many cases, we will be working with designers and subcontractors. We always recommend what we think is best but it is helpful to provide an explanation of the foundation of the choices. In this week’s blog, we will cover a few of these choices.
Location of the Windows
Whether the windows are on the north or south side of the building plays a large role in this decision. The location of the window will determine the intensity of the solar light. When considering projects to increase the thermal efficiency of your latest project, there will be a choice of whether it is better to install exterior window treatments or interior treatments. The goal of both is to mitigate the heat loss and gain that is inherent in windows, but especially on sun-struck south sides of buildings and interior treatments on the north sides. Our fenestration experts will inventory your building and design a solution.
Interior or Exterior Window Treatments
Whether you choose interior or exterior window treatments greatly depends on your aesthetic tastes and the placement of the windows. There are, however, a few factors to consider when making this decision. Reflectance is one such concept. This deals with how, and to what extent, light is reflected by materials. When dealing with light, the rule book gets thrown out and rewritten. Imagine light coming through the glass. Now imagine a dark material on the inside of the window being hit with the sunlight. You know from experience that the dark material will become warm; every heat-seeking cat and dog knows this law of nature. It follows that light-colored surfaces reflect light back through the window, and so placing a light-colored material on the interior side of the window would help minimize heat gain. This is where the rules get weird. Because of the law of refraction, solar incident angles and absorbance, as well as a complication from multiple panes of glass, it simply doesn’t work like that. The heat, once inside the window, stays inside the window. The trick, then, is to keep the sun from penetrating the window in the first place. There are several ways this can be accomplished.
If you are designing window treatments for areas with intense sun, such as California, Arizona, or Nevada you may want to consider window treatments for the exterior of the building. Keeping sunlight out of the space in the first place means you don’t have to run the air-conditioning to compensate. In many cases, the air-conditioning can’t keep up so keeping the sun out is a matter of economy and comfort.
One way of keeping the sun out is with exterior window treatments, such as exterior roller shades. You can see in this case study that cable-guided exterior shades can be used on south- or west-facing windows. The exterior shades were installed to keep the house cool for consecutive days when the house was unoccupied. On this particular home, motorized. Interior shades were also installed for when the residence was home and wanted easy control of the shades. This combination of interior and exterior shading produced an 80 percent reduction in solar heat gain.
Retractable Awnings and Overhead Shades
Two great options are retractable awnings and overhead shades. If you have a small commercial building or a home, retractable awnings can be a perfect choice. When you have a retractable awning, you can roll it out as the sun starts to hit that side of the house and it will work to keep the house cool. It will also give you, depending on the location of the sun in the sky, a shaded area outside of the house to sit and enjoy the cool that shade provides. You can choose between a motorized awning where you have to only push a button or automated so the awning knows when to extend itself, so it only needs to be programmed. Overhead shades are perfect for walkways that have architecture support available, sun lights, and around swimming pools.
Interior Window Treatment Services and Styles
There are many times when a shade that is right up against a large window is just not an option. This is sometimes because it will not fit the overall design of the building and sometimes because the large size all of the windows simply will not accommodate exterior shades. When this is the case, interior treatments are the answer.
When considering interior shades, we will research the project, meet with the project’s design team, and work together with them to choose the right style and material to go with the overall interior design plan. We will provide samples and estimates. We will provide extensive Division 12 specification. All measurements for window treatments will be handled by us. Finally, we will work directly with subcontractors throughout the entire process.
When you decide on interior solutions for keeping solar heat gain to a minimum, there are aesthetic choices to be made. Our designers can make suggestions that will work with modern, traditional, and baroque-style homes. Your choices include drapery of many types, including fixed panels, sheers, and thermally lined drapes. Roman-style shades can be classic, knife pleated, or London Roman. Valance choices include unupholstered cornice boxes, wood cornice boxes, and inverted box pleated valances.
Call Window Product Management today and work with the fenestrations and heat gain experts. We can analyze, design, manage, and supervise window treatment projects.