Understanding How Window Treatments Keep Your Home Cool

Which window treatments can keep your home cool? There’s a lot to unpack in that question! Let’s talk about the varying ways your home might heat up in the summer and how to solve those issues. Then, we’ll show you our favorite energy saving window treatments so you can make a decision about which ones will work best in your home.


It’s Called Heat Transfer

Heat transfer is what causes certain areas of homes to feel so stuffy in the middle of summer. It’s the reason most homeowners wouldn’t dream of leaving windows bare. We do say it’s “mostly” unintentional–there are times, like a chilly morning with the sun shining in, when you might want the sun’s heat. But, first, let’s define the three basic types of heat transfer…

Radiation: Heat is not felt in the air, but when it hits the surface of an object, that object heats up. (Pets love these spots, where the sun beats in and heats an area up to exhausting temps–perfect for nap time.) One of the biggest problems is that once the interior heats up, there’s nowhere for that hot air to go.

Convection: Wind takes heat to the window on a hot day and away from the window on a cold day. Insulating properties can provide a proper barrier.

Conduction: Heat is transferred through a solid object, like a window heating up on a hot day and transferring the heat to the interior. Insulation is key in this example as well.

white kitchens with bare windows in Winnetka


Can Window Coverings Prevent Heat Gain?

Yes. Heat gain is the result of heat transfer. It’s the exhausting temperatures you feel inside your home, even when it’s closed up with the AC running. Providing a barrier between the exterior air and the interior air will help. Window coverings help reduce radiant heat by stopping the sun from shining into the space at all. If you notice in the above photo, the floor to ceiling windows let in sunshine that extends throughout the room. Every surface with sunshine is going to heat up, pretty quickly causing the surrounding air to heat up.

White kitchen with honeycomb shades on windows in Winnetka
Duette® Honeycomb Shades

The Best Energy Saving Shades

Honeycomb Shades are a top choice in energy saving shades. The pockets of air created inside the cellular structure of the shades creates a barrier, trapping air. This keeps the exterior air from influencing the temperature of the interior air. These shades stack at the top of the window when raised.

side view of honeycomb shades that keep your home cool in the summer
Duette® Honeycomb Shades

Using the concept of cellular pockets, but combining them with the operating feature of roller shades, the Sonnette Cellular Roller Shades collection was born. These thermal shades offer a great barrier of protection, easily helping you keep your home cool in the summer, but rolling up out of the way.

blue cabinetry and modern bar area with large picture windows and shades
Sonnette™ Cellular Roller Shades

Draperies have a long-standing reputation for being an energy efficient option for windows. Depending on the amount of sunshine your home receives, you can customize the options for your draperies. They can feature a liner to provide more protection from the elements.

dark olive drapery in modern loft apartment dining room
Custom Drapery

Plantation Shutters have adjustable louvers that, when closed flat, keep light from entering completely. When sunshine stays out, there are no surfaces heating up. Even when the louvers are adjusted open, in specific position, light enters, but the direct light doesn’t come into contact with surfaces. Shutters offer a great barrier, framing in the window, and slowing air flow.

breakfast nook with black shutters floor to ceiling showing outdoors
Heritance® Hardwood Shutters

Roman Shades act as a barrier to entering light. When roman shades are lowered, the folds of fabric create shapes that reduce the air flow. The air flow is what raises temperatures in your home during the hot summer months, so reducing it will slow down that effect. Even rolling roman shades can prevent heat gain by stopping sunlight at the window.

large black trim window with white roman shade behind sitting area with bench
Vignette® Modern Roman Shades

Sheer Shades have a reflective quality facing the exterior of your home. Not only do sheer fabrics diffuse the direct light, but because they reflect sunshine outside, much of the heat transfer can be reduced. Even with the vanes open to the view, the difference of bare windows compared to covered is dramatic.

before and after of dining room with silhouette shades in Chicago IL
Silhouette® Window Shades


It’s Time to Keep Your Home Cool!

While there are a few reasons your home might be heating up this summer, you know you’ve got to stop that sunshine at the window! Don’t let bare windows keep you from enjoying your summer in comfort–and style. When our window covering specialists visit your home, they can give you advice about your home’s specific needs and how to fix your most challenging issues. Invite us in for a FREE design consult today.