Replacement Windows vs. Energy Shades

We’ve had a local newspaper campaign running, in which discussion about the advisability of replacing one’s windows and the solution of using honeycomb shades comes up:

Q: Are insulating shades more energy efficient than replacement windows?

A: The energy efficiency can be about the same! But, insulating shades cost much less and are easier to do — so homeowners may be able to solve their heat-loss problems and reap benefits right away!

I have an older home, post World-War II (approximate date: 1949); it’s a great cape, but not much has been to its energy efficiency since the post war period! The world outside the house, however, has certainly changed: More houses (which equals more neighbors; some houses have even become rental units, with upstairs or basement cut off from the rest of the house); “new and improved” airport just over the next town; busier highway. Well, you get my drift: a lot of increase in noise just in the fifteen years I’ve lived there.

Anyway, I’ve thought about replacement windows. At least for the upstairs bedrooms. I used to dream about how much quieter double-panes would have to be. Until I read the column “About The House”. This syndicated column is actually written by a local, Vermont gentleman — Henri de Marne. Henri recommended not spending money on replacement windows, but investing in good, solid, old-fashioned storm windows. Makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. A lot less disruptive to the house too.

By the way, for information on Henri’s book, About the House, clickhere. Homeowners can read upcoming columns at our own Burlington Free Press, Saturday editions. And we’ve uncovered this great video on the Repair and Maintenance of Older Homes, featuring Henri, which ran on local-access cable.

So why have I begun with a talk about shades and concluded with a comment about storm windows? No matter what you have on your windows to stop the chill frigid winter air (for those down south as well as up north: weather has been doing some erratic things lately!) — be the windows new or “improved” with storms, window shades not only give you the ADDED warmth, but also the aesthetic of fabric on the interior. In fact,Henri chose our shades to decorate and insulate the windows in his own home!

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