The UK might not have the extremes of heat that some parts of the world experience – but the British weather is still a huge factor when it comes to comfort and energy use in our homes.

In 2020, parts of the UK saw temperatures hit sweltering highs of 36.4°C during August – but they were replaced with lows of -10.2°C in Scotland just four months later.

As if a potential difference in temperature of over 46°C isn’t varied enough – recent Met Office research suggests the chances of extreme high temperatures is ever-increasing.

Shutters and energy efficiency

There’s no getting around the fact that we’re one of the UK’s leading shutter companies – so you’re right to assume that we’ll touch on the benefits of shutters as we talk about energy efficient window coverings.

Don’t worry though, Shuttercraft’s No Hard Sell Promise applies to everything we do – from the information here on our website to consultations with our expert teams when we visit your home.

We’re not here just to tell you how fantastic shutters are as a window covering – we’ll explain a bit about the science and how other window treatments shape up, so you’ve got all the information you need to decide what’s right for your home.

energy efficiency shutters

Why is energy efficiency important?

‘Energy efficiency’ is rarely far from the headlines. While changes that we can make as individuals might not feel like they will change the bigger picture when it comes to the world’s changing climate, there are some quick and immediate benefits each and every one of us can feel if we make energy efficient decisions in our homes.

Reducing household fuel costs

Quite simply, the more energy efficient your home is, the less money you’ll spend on gas and electricity.

Everyone’s homes are a little different, but according to 2021 figures from the energy market regulator, Ofgem, the average dual fuel bill for a residential property is £1,138 per year.

Even a small improvement in energy efficiency could keep a chunk of that money in your pocket.

reduce house fuel cost
using less fuel

Using less fuel into the future

Household energy bills are increasing.

In fact, as energy providers move towards greener, sustainable energy sources, energy analysts are expecting to see prices steadily increase – even towards the end of 2021.

Not only will a more energy efficient property save you money in the short term, measures you take to save energy now will continue to keep money in your pocket into the future.

The environment

There’s no doubt that governments and industries need to take the lead with fighting climate change – but what you can do as an individual doesn’t count for nothing.

If everyone in the UK took a more energy-efficient stance with how they run their homes, energy companies would have no option but to listen.

The world might have a lot to do, but being a little more energy efficient is a small – but important – step in the right direction.

environment

Discover a wide selection of energy saving shutters

Not certain which shutter style is right for you? We make it easy to pick a design that’s ideal for you and your home.


What exactly is a ‘window treatment’ and why does it matter?

The term ‘window treatment’ might sound a little strange – after all, what’s wrong with ‘curtains’, ‘window blinds’, or ‘shutters’?

Actually, ‘window treatments’ is a phrase used to describe anything that covers or modifies your window.

There are a lot on the market too – from plantation shutters and window blinds to frosted and stained glass; anything that alters the light or heat that comes through your windows is considered a ‘treatment’.

So, why do window treatments matter?

The answer is down to just how much our windows contribute to the temperature of our homes.

Industry-leading research from the United States’ Energy Department suggests that heat gain and heat loss through windows is responsible for 25%-30% of residential heating and cooling costs.

One of their suggested solutions? Adding a window treatment.

What makes a window treatment energy efficient?

As you can no doubt imagine, not every window treatment offers the same level of energy efficiency.

After all, a net curtain isn’t going to shade you from the sun in quite the same way shutters would.

The question is, what makes the most effective energy efficient window treatments? Generally, it’s all about the ‘thermal performance’ of the material you choose.

Thermal performance is a term that’s used in the building and interiors industry to describe how efficiently something retains or prevents the passage of heat.

There are lots of factors that contribute to any window treatment’s overall thermal performance, but the most significant one is: How much heat does the material conduct?

Some parts of your home should conduct heat well – your radiators, for example.

Metal heats up quickly as the temperature of the water inside goes up.

Window treatments need be the opposite of this though – ideally, they should be poor conductors of heat.

This way, even when they’re hit by the harmful UV rays that come from direct sunlight, they reduce heat gain, so you’re kept cool inside your home.

Likewise, when you’ve warmed your home, the best window treatments will reflect that warm air back into your space, rather than letting it escape into wintery weather outside.

Windows:
5 things you can do to boost energy efficiency and make energy savings

Since windows can have such a dramatic effect on your energy bills and the comfortable temperature inside your home, it’s worth taking a look at a few measures that’ll help you make sure they’re as energy efficient as possible.

find all gaps and seal

1 – Seal any gaps

Even a very well-kept home can develop gaps around the windows – so it’s worth having a look around your house and seeing if there are any cracks or gaps that are letting in draughts.

This is especially important if you’re one of the 7% of UK homes that have single-glazed windows.

Check around the window frame and under window sills, as even a tiny amount of movement in a home can result in gaps appearing.

If you find any, silicone sealant or a specialist interior filler will usually do a good job of filling the space and stopping the draft.

2 – Add thermal linings to curtains

When you think of thermal linings for curtains, you probably think about closing heavy curtains in the winter to create a snug atmosphere.

In truth, thermal linings will do an equally good job of keeping the summer sun out too.

Although they can help with energy consumption and comfort, the slight downside is that curtains don’t offer much in the way of light control – so if you do want to take a break from the sunshine, you’ll be closing the world out completely.

curtain thermal lining
energy efficient windows

3 – Install more energy efficient windows

Replacing your windows is likely to be the most costly option on this list – by a long way.

However, if you really want to go-for-it with energy efficiency, an energy saving window twinned with energy efficient window treatments is a combo that’s hard to beat.

New double or triple glazing windows often come with the option of specialist light filtering coatings that are designed to reduce solar heat gain.

Again, these come at a cost – so it might be a while before you offset this against your energy bills, but it’s an extremely effective way of reducing consumption and upping comfort levels.

4 – Use compression strips

Often, it’s just not practical or affordable to completely replace all the windows in your property – but don’t worry, there are some great products that will improve the performance of single-glazed or older double-glazed window units.

Perhaps the best and most cost-effective are compression strips – spongey self-adhesive strips that can be positioned to seal up any gaps that are left when windows don’t shut as well as they once did.

They are virtually invisible when the window’s closed too – and you can usually find a colour that matches your window frames.

window weather strips
shutters in bay window

5 – Window coverings

Choosing the right window coverings is probably the best way to balance cost and effectiveness if you want to improve comfort in your home and minimise energy loss and energy costs.

The good news is, you’ve got a huge selection to choose from – including energy efficient blinds (sometimes referred to as ‘honeycomb shades’, ‘cellular shades’ or ‘solar shades’), thermal curtains, and interior shutters.

Each of these options have their own unique benefits – so if window coverings are something you’d like to explore, it’s worth checking out the merits of each one.


What are some of the most effective and
energy efficient window coverings?

If you’re thinking about new energy efficient window coverings for your home, it’s important to acknowledge that style is going to play a part in the choice that you make.

After all, having a builder replace your windows with bricks would definitely be efficient – but it’s not likely to win you any style awards, and it doesn’t make for a very cost evening atmosphere!

This is where shutters really come into their own – and it’s all down to their unique balance of energy efficiency, privacy, and light control.


Shutters have a significant advantage over energy saving blinds and curtains

Picture the scene. It’s a hot summer’s day and the sun’s beating down on your home. Perhaps you’re relaxing in front of the TV – or perhaps you’re working from home. Either way, staying comfortable is key.

If you’ve decided on energy saving blinds or thermal curtains for your room, you’ve now got a tricky decision.

Do you drop the blinds or draw the curtains?

If you do, you’ll be protected from the solar heat – but you’ll also lose most of the natural light and make your home look like it’s night time.

Again, this is where shutters stand out above other energy efficient window treatments.

If you want to bask in the sunshine you can – and, if you want to close the heat out almost entirely, you can – but there are almost endless configurations in-between.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of shutters:

Unbeatable light control:

The louvres (also known as ‘slats’) in your shutters can be adjusted to reduce the glare from the sun without losing the natural light.

When you shade yourself from direct sunlight, even the hottest day becomes more manageable.

Absolute privacy:

Shutters can be angled so you can keep natural light flooding into your room – without passers-by being able to look in.

Low maintenance:

Shutters are likely to be one of the easiest window coverings to maintain – a quick wipe with a damp cloth, and they’re looking as good as new.

What’s more, with no fabric surfaces, they won’t trap dust and allergens either.

Find energy saving shutters that are perfect for you

Explore our range of shutters and options that complement your home beautifully.


So, are shutters energy efficient?

Since there are shutter styles to match virtually any home or interior design look, you can be confident that finding the right design will be simple – but can you be absolutely confident that shutters are as effective as other energy efficient window treatments?

In short, yes – shutters are one of the most energy efficient window dressings available in the UK.

A big part of why shutters are such an efficient choice is down to the materials we use to make them.

Most of our styles are constructed using natural hardwood – a material that is virtually unbeatable when you want to reflect direct sunlight.

It’s actually a fairly scientific reason why wood makes such effective window coverings.

If you could look at wood on an atomic level, you’d see the tiny particles that are packed tightly together.

The more tightly these particles are bound, the more the material resists heat flowing through it.

Therefore, wood will almost always be more effective than fabrics when it comes to deflecting the air and keeping the temperature just right.

Staying comfortable: Why are window treatments important?

July 2021 saw heats of over 31°C across the country – and since very few UK homes are equipped with air conditioning (less than 0.5%), shutting the heat out of our homes has sometimes felt like the only option.

The trouble is, trying to harness any cool breeze that might come through an open window is impossible if you’ve got the curtains drawn to keep the sun at bay.

With temperatures that can vary so significantly, UK homes really do require a best-of-both-worlds option.

Shade from the sun on those hot and sweaty days – and insulation when the cold weather comes and it’s time to turn up the thermostat and snuggle-up on the sofa.

Shutters for windows and patio doors are this best-of-both-worlds solution – an all-year-round efficient window dressing that maximises comfort whatever our changeable weather brings.

indow treatments
plantation shutters for living room

Shutters in conservatories and orangeries

When it comes to keeping rooms comfortable, conservatories and orangeries are trickier than most.

While windows represent less than 20% of most rooms’ wall space, conservatories are often at least 85% glass – and orangeries 50% or more.

With quite so much glass, it’s no surprise to find that conservatories and orangeries are often used in just a handful of months – generally when it’s cool enough to avoid feeling like a greenhouse but warm enough to not feel like you’re sitting in the fridge.

A report from the government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change explores the use of conservatories in the UK – and highlights both how popular they are, along with some of the energy and comfort problems they can present for residents.

Results of the report indicate that:

  • Around 18% of households in the UK have conservatories or orangeries
  • 77% of conservatories are heated – but nearly half of these use electric or portable heaters
  • 91% of homes with conservatories have a separating door
  • 83% of conservatory owners keep their conservatory shut-off in winter

The report also highlights how significantly a conservatory can impact the temperature of any adjoining room – with evidence of increased heat loss in the winter and heat radiating from these kinds of rooms during hot summer months.

conservatory shutters for windows

Shutter styles to suit any window or room

From the living room to the bathroom, traditional or modern – we’ve got shutters that suit any size, style or type of room.

shutter blinds in conservatory

How can shutters help in a conservatory or orangery?

Based on how many conservatories and orangeries are used, it’s reasonable to say that they often just see ‘fair weather’ use by many owners – and, if they’re to be used comfortably all year round, they’re likely to require additional heating or cooling measures.

So, how could shutters help?

Conservatories and orangeries are the perfect places to show off the versatility of shutters as window coverings that prevent unnecessary heat gain when the sun’s out – but also help to lock the heat in when the temperature drops.

If you want to make the most of the sun, shutters can be fully retracted – but if you want to reduce intensity and glare – you can angle your slats until you’re comfortable.

Conservatories aren’t an inexpensive addition to a home either – so it’s reasonable to think that you’d like to use the additional space they afford, even if it’s chilly outside. This is where shutters can prove invaluable at bouncing warm air back into the room, helping to keep you warm even if you’re looking out onto snow.

Shaped shutters for any conservatory or orangery shape

Aside from shutters’ comfort and energy-saving benefits – it’s also worth noting that made-to-measure shutters are often a much neater option for a conservatory or orangery.

Curtains and blinds are notoriously difficult to adapt to the different shapes and angles of a conservatory – but since shutters sit just in front of the window frame, they can be manufactured to fit perfectly and match the look of your room.

shutters shapes
blackout shutters

Energy efficient window treatments: What’s the bottom line?

If an energy efficient future is a realistic prospect for UK homes, it has to combine the necessary environmental benefits with an acceptable level of comfort and cost for homeowners.

Of course, there’s also style to consider too.

While it might not be an important factor for everyone, the overwhelming majority of people will only embrace energy-saving solutions in their homes if they work with the look of the surroundings.

It’s when you consider all of these factors that shutters stand out as the very best of the possible energy efficient window treatments.

The natural hardwood construction of made-to-measure shutters provides a layer of insulation that’s very difficult to match – and easy-to-adjust slats mean getting the level of light just right couldn’t be easier.

Oh, and shutters are a stunning-looking addition to any home – while the science does the talking about energy efficiency and comfort – that’s something we don’t mind admitting that we’re biased about!

Why not contact your local Shuttercraft?

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About the Author

Alex Peters

With a passion for individuality, Alex Peters is an expert in shutters that wants to help give new life to your home. He is a technical writer that enjoys putting together lifestyle articles for consumers, and has written a range of key shutter and window treatment articles.

As the Digital Content Executive at Shuttercraft Ltd for nearly 5 years, Alex Peters is uniquely experienced to help readers of this blog learn more about a ...

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