July 15, 2009 — With heat waves already owning the Midwest and budget-conscious Americans looking for ways to cut back on cooling bills, the best savings might be hanging right overhead.
Skylights may be easy to forget about, but impossible not to notice in the summer when certain areas of the house still have warm spots. Air conditioning represents 22% of an average household's total energy bill, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a think tank focused on natural resources.
To cut back on energy use, keep portals to the sun’s direct light such as skylights and windows covered when necessary. When it comes to protecting a home’s interior, the small investment in treatments to cover skylights can go a long way.
Shading films, while very economical, have a side effect of blocking light that retailers like, stated Michelle Graveline-Welch of CellularWindowShades.com, “Skylights have a huge impact on the space from a lighting point of view,” says Graveline-Welch. “That’s why you can’t put film on a skylight – it significantly reduces the amount of light that comes into the space.”
Shades, such as the honeycombed model sold by CellularWindowShades.com, are more versatile. Closing blinds and curtains in peak sunlight hours reduces the output needed by cooling systems – and light-colored window treatments can reduce heat indoors by 50 percent.
You can draw them across when you want to use it and open it up when you don’t want to use it,” says Graveline-Welch. “Basically, instead of just putting a furnace in your home and having it on all the time, it’s putting a furnace in your home and being able to turn it on and turn it off.”
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July 15, 2009
Essex Junction, Vermont