Are Your Window Treatments Eco-Friendly?
If you’re one of those people who is always looking for new ways to “go green”, then you’ll be happy to know that there are a number of eco-friendly window treatment options. Some types of treatments may be more eco-friendly than others and there are things you can look for that will tell you how “green” the treatment actually is.
Energy efficiency is the first and probably most important characteristic of a “green” window treatment. A window treatment’s energy efficiency is judged by how much heat loss or gain it prevents. The less heat you lose in your house, the less you’ll have to use your heater, saving you electricity which is good for the earth and your wallet as well. There are two things you can check when shopping for window treatments to gauge its energy efficiency. The R-value will tell you how much resistance to heat flow that the treatment has. The higher the R-value, the better it keeps heat from escaping. The other number you should check, the shading coefficient, will tell you how much heat is being let in through the window. To prevent heat gain, you want to go with a treatment with a low shading coefficient.
After you gauge your window treatment’s energy efficiency, you want to make sure it is made from renewable materials. This way, you will be able to recycle the treatment once you are done with it. If you are going with wood treatments, look for wood that is Forest Stewardship Council certified. Always try to go with natural fabrics like silk, cotton or hemp for draperies. And if you want to take it a step further, always buy local. By buying locally you are making it so that less energy is used to get the product to you.
The final characteristic to look at in a “green” window treatment is how it affects the air quality of your home. Steer clear of plastic and faux wood blinds as they may contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC releases carcinogenic dioxin into the air during manufacturing and contains plasticizer called phthalates. This plasticizer can trigger respiratory problems and interfere with the body’s hormonal systems. Also, shades and curtains made with petroleum-based synthetics, such as polyester or nylon, may be treated with the flame retardant deca-BDE which can break down into penta-BDE. Penta-BDE has been linked to thyroid problems and learning development disorders in children.
–by Richard Moyle, http://www.horizonyc.com
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).Are Your Window Treatments Eco-Friendly?,