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Shining a light on lowering energy bills

Instead of running the air-conditioner or heater at full crank, a simple way to save electricity and the environment in the long run is by installing specialty window treatments.

According to the federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website, tips on saving electricity include using shade on windows, especially those that are north and east-facing, and closing windows and curtains during the hottest part of the day.

ABC Blinds & Awnings Co-Managing Director Mark Brice said in terms of thermal energy, the way a home was built would ultimately determine its energy efficiency. However, small changes around the home could help to improve its heating and cooling efficiency.

“The home’s structure and functions are two of the key factors in what makes a home energy efficient,” he said. “While the structure of a home like walls, flooring and the ceiling may be more difficult to change, heating, cooling, lighting and water systems may be easier to adjust for optimal energy efficiency.”

Mr Brice said popular window coverings, such as Roman blinds, curtains, roller blinds, vertical blinds, day and night blinds, and panel blinds, could be customised with insulating blockout fabric to help preserve desired temperatures in the home.

“The thick fabric that makes up blockout blinds is great for keeping the temperature in your home more comfortable,” he said.

While these internal window coverings are a quick way to block out heat or keep warmth in, Mr Brice said a physical barrier externally like aluminium shutters could effectively keep the sun out of your home.

“Shutters block the heat as it hits your windows, thereby dramatically reducing the heat transferred into your room,” he said. “With a twist of the louvres, you control how much heat and glare comes through your windows, allowing you to save on cooling bills in summer and heating bills in winter.”

Blinds for outdoor areas should also be considered, as they can help to provide shade from the sun, wind and rain.

Installing outdoor blinds means less sun is reaching window areas and it creates another barrier to keep the house cool during summer.

“Zipscreen blinds are another energy-efficient option,” Mr Brice said. “When they are installed around your verandah or balcony, their patented, zip-lock technology will reflect more than half the heat that would otherwise enter the area.

“This means you can sit back in total comfort, protected from the elements throughout the year.”

Outdoor blinds can also be a great benefit to outdoor furniture, which can fade once exposed to ultraviolet radiation for a long period of time. If the space is on the smaller side, retractable awnings are an ideal option.

Similarly fragile indoor furniture placed near doors and windows can be easily damaged.

Finding the right balance between keeping ample natural light in the home while protecting furniture from fading can be difficult, which is where smart options such as double roller blinds with a blockout layer and sunscreen layer, or sheer curtains, can help filter the right amount of sunlight in.

CONTACT ABC Blinds & Awnings, 131 315, www.abcblinds.com.au

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