With 2016 the hottest year on record and summer in full swing, cooling down the house (while saving on the electrical bill) is definitely on our minds.
The south and east side of a house is exposed to the morning to midday sun. While sometimes the morning sun is nice, from 11:30 AM onwards, the temperature rises significantly, reaching its peak by 3 PM.
Likewise, as the temperature outside rises, you've probably noticed that your home gets warmer too. This is known as solar heat gain - the increase in a space's temperature from solar radiation (sunlight!). As the sunlight gets stronger, solar heat gain increases.
So, how do you fight the heat? There's a simple solution - install window treatments, specifically, draperies or shades.
Why not blinds? During the summertime, blinds are most effective when fully closed. However, not only does this completely block off sunlight from the outside, drawn blinds also inhibit cross ventilation and air circulation, which makes a room feel stuffy.
On the other hand, draperies, especially those in light to medium colors and have at least a privacy lining, enjoy the benefit of reflecting the sun's rays while still allowing you to enjoy the sunlight during the day. For full sun blockage, blackout lining is recommended because they are specifically designed to block out sun.
If you want to prevent heat gain, we do not recommend using sheer or unlined draperies, as they are not opaque enough to be truly effective.
As for roman shades, they're actually one of the simplest and most effective ways to combat solar heat gain. As with draperies, blackout lined shades do best in keeping out the heat, though privacy lined shades work as well. For further heat protection, pleated style roman shades are recommended due to the dead air space between the pleats.