Energy Tip: Windows Dressed for Success

You have probably already switched over your wardrobe to the lighter, sheerer threads of summer. It’s time to think about how to best dress your windows. When planning a summer wardrobe for your windows, sheers might look appealing, but they are not a practical choice.

It’s hard to generalize about the energy performance of draperies, but one thing is certain. Light and sheer window dressing is not the way to go during the full heat of summer. Studies have shown that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings (or other insulating backings) can reduce heat gains in the home by 33 percent. That’s a lot!

It is good to remember that no matter what kind of high efficiency windows you have, heat will still transfer through them in the summer, and if your home hasn’t been air sealed, hot air can still pass through the small cracks and openings around windows and doors.


Tips to Dress Your Windows:

  1. Close draperies on windows that receive direct sunlight.
  2. Fabric choice makes a difference. The pleats and folds of heavier, closed weave fabrics stop the heat, as do light to medium colors.
  3. Hang drapes as close to the window as possible and overlap them in the center. Stop the heat!
  4. Two draperies hung together will create a tighter space than just one.
  5. This may sound a little extreme, but for the best impact, install a cornice at the top of the drapery or run the drapes from the ceiling. On the other end, let the drapes fall to the windowsill or floor.  You can even seal your drapes at the sides with Velcro or magnetic tape to prevent hot air from entering your conditioned living space. Sealing off your windows with drapes can stop 25 percent of heat transfer.

If you think that your windows are the Achilles’ heel of your home, do consider implementing some or all of these window dressing best practices. They will greatly help to improve the comfort of your home this summer.

Tips adapted from


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