Energy Saving Outdoor Blinds

When considering window treatments or covers, they are not just for decoration, but also a way for you to achieve energy savings in your home. Some of the specialized treatments for windows are able to significantly prevent heat loss and decrease heat. However, it is important to know that window treatments in regards to preventing air leakage or filtration are not effective. Caulk or weather strips around your windows is seen as an efficient method to reduce air leakage.


Using awnings over your windows can result in reducing heat gain by as much as 65% in the months of summer on south-facing windows and around 77% on west-facing windows. When choosing the option of awnings for your windows, you can choose from an awning shade that will cover each of your windows or a design that is custom-made to create shade for each side or a single side of your home.

Not so long ago, most of awnings were made out of metal or canvas that typically required a re-covering in about 5 to 7 years. However, today you can purchase awnings made out of synthetic fabrics such as acrylic or polyvinyl laminates. These materials have been treated in order to resist mildew, mold and fading. In addition, the fabrics are also resistant to moisture and water. When deciding on an awning, it is always advisable to choose fabrics that are opaque and tightly woven. Lighter colors are also a better choice as they are able to reflect sunlight more efficiently.

Awnings require adequate ventilation to reduce or stop hot air that becomes trapped around the windows. The right awnings will have openings across the tops or sides or eyelets to offer ventilation. You may even prefer the awnings that open from the sides or the top in order to vent out any hot air. In winter months you will want the awnings that are adjustable or retractable which are rolled up and away to provide a way for the sun to warm up your home. The current hardware such as the lateral arms provides a way to roll up your awnings easily when not in use.


The vertical of slat-type blinds are types recognized as the most effective in regards to minimizing heat gain that occurs in summer when compared to the heat loss that occurs in winter.

Interior Blinds

The openings that occur between the slats on blinds means that controlling heat loss is difficult in regards to window blinds used inside the home. These slats however, are beneficial in summer months in association to how flexible they are. Unlike shades, slates are adjustable which means you are able to control light and ventilation. When completely closed and lowered on your windows which receive the most sunlight, these blinds reflects direct sunlight away and directs this light towards the ceiling. When your ceiling is lightly colored, the sunlight will be diffused with decreased heat or glare.

Exterior Blinds

The roller blinds that are used on the outside of windows are generally made out of wood, steel, aluminum or vinyl. These types of blinds will be installed above a window and feature side channels which are what will guide them for lowering or raising. When completely lowered the blind’s slats will meet-up which offer sufficient shade. When raised partially, the blinds provide some light and airflow to access the windows. The Sydney outdoor blinds price can vary depending on which mechanism you select and also which type of fabric you choose.


Drapes have the ability to reduce heat loss or gain which will be dependent on a number or factors which includes the fabric type like closed or open weave and the color of the drapes. With the significant amount of variety, it can become confusing to generalize energy performance.

On hot days, draperies in the windows which receive the most sunlight need to be closed in order to reduce heat gain. Studies have suggested that the draperies of medium colors and white-plastic backings have the ability to reduce heat gains by around 33%. Draperies also maintain a cooler environment on hot days when compared to a variety of the types of window treatments, due to the pleats and folds which results in heat loss in association with convection processes.

outdoor blind Sydney

When draperies are closed in colder weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from warmed rooms by about 10%. This is the reason why draperies should be closed when it gets dark and the windows that receive little or no sunlight during the day.

To minimize heat exchange or convection, draperies should be in close proximity to the actual windows. They should also be touching the window sill or floor. In order to maximize effectiveness cornices installed over draperies or positioned against ceilings offer the best benefits. To further increase their effectiveness you should seal draperies on each side and making sure that they overlap at the center. Velcro or magnetic tape can be used to attach the drapes to your walls at the sides or the bottom. Using these precautions can contribute to reducing heat loss by about 25%.

High Reflective Films

High-reflectivity films on windows help to block heat gain. However, the effectiveness of these reflective films is dependent on:

•Orientation of your windows

•The building orientation


•Do the windows feature interior insulation

Silver, mirror-like films are in many cases a better option over the colored to transparent types. East and west facing windows benefit from films as they have an increased potential in regards to heat gain due to the amount of sunlight that these windows receive. South-facing windows will be able to moderately benefit, but the north-facing windows holds no benefits.

The high-reflective films will have some disadvantages that include:

•Loss of interior light and visible transmittance

•Visibility when looking out can be impaired

•Added care is needed when cleaning these windows

Reflective films can either be applied directly over existing windows or there are window manufacturers that manufacturer this reflective glazing or glass.

10 Exciting Solar Technologies on the Horizon

Solar power technology continues to move forward quite rapidly, with new advancements being transformed into workable installations on practically a daily basis.

1. Water Cooled Solar Panels

A specially designed, acrylic concentrating, short focal-length lens is used by the Pyron Solar Triad to refract and reflect light to effectively concentrate within a small pinpoint of light the equivalent power of 6,500 suns. This concentrated light is captured by a secondary optic and focuses it onto a small PV cell. The company states that more than 800 times electricity is produced by the HE Optics System compared to a silicon solar cell of a similar size.


2. Home Solar into Hydrogen Storage

This year a company was formed by Daniel Nocera, an MIT professor, to commercialize a new type of technology that has the ability to “split water” as well as store solar energy. The key objective of the company is to produce a solar energy breakthrough via making solar energy widespread and inexpensive.

3. Paintable and Printable Solar Panels, Solar Roof Tiles

If it was as easy to install solar power as it is to paint your roof using solar paint or placing new shingles on your house, then the bar for home solar installation would definitely be lowered. Paintable solar technology is referred to as silicon ink.

4. Thin Large Film Solar Panels

Thin amorphous silicon based film technology is used by the SunFab system for delivering the most powerful and largest thin film panels in the world in combination with inexpensive materials and one of the most advanced fabrication technologies in the industry. The thin film solar panels from SunFab feature a frameless design, which eliminates two major field reliability challenges when it comes to thin panels: a structure integrity that weakens over time and water penetration.

5. Organic Solar Concentrators

MIT engineers have created an affordable and sophisticated method for transforming regular glass into a high-tech solar concentrator. Dye-coated glass is used for collecting and channeling light. Usually this is lost from the panel surface. The technology may enable buildings to make use of tinted windows for collecting energy. A company called GreenSun has designed bright-colored panels for capturing various part of the spectrum of the sun. Direct sunlight isn’t needed in order for them to work properly.

6. Space Based Solar

A gigantic space-based solar power generator is being developed in Japan for transmitting solar energy from 6,000km high to earth within approximately 30 years. The $21 billion project is being backed by the Japanese government. It includes a solar powered space station that contains four square kilometers worth of solar panels, that will crank out approximately 1 gigawatt of electricity – sufficient for nearly 300,000 Tokoyo homes.

7. Solar Roads

This concept from Solar Roadways would involve using glass panels to pave roads with in order to collect solar energy and distribute it for heating during the winter and lighting roads at night, with enough leftover electricity for powering businesses and homes. Scott Brusaw, the founder, has estimated that every mile worth of solar panels can power 500 houses. He estimates it would cost around $5,000 to produce one 12′ x 12′ Solar Panel Roadway panel.

8. Concentrated Solar

The SunCatcher from Stirling Energy System is comprised of a solar concentrator within a dish structure. It supports a series of curved glass mirrors, and could be deployed soon in Arizona as the first commercial-scale installation of the most efficient solar technology in the world. A system of mirrors that are fixed to a parabolic dish is used by the SunCatcher to concentrate the energy of the sun onto the very efficient Stirling Engine. Each of the dishes generates as much as 25,000 watts of power.

solar thermal suncatcher dishes

9. Nanotechnology Solar

McMaster University researchers have grown light-absorbing nanowires in Ontario that are made out of high-performance photovoltaic materials on highly durable yet thin carbon-nanotube fabric. The tiny particles have also been embedded into a flexible polyester film that can result in solar cells that are less expensive and more flexible compared to the current photovoltaics that are available.

A team from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton has developed a series of new photovoltaic devices that use a process that can be found in photosynthesis for delivering impressive quantities of electrical current from the light.

10. Integrated Grid Ready Solar

Proprietary technology from Akeena has been used to build Andalay AC solar panels. The electrical grounding, wiring and racking components are integrated into the actual panels. The company reports that this helps to protect against breakdowns as well as increase system reliability, which saves thousands of dollars over its 30 year life. Safe household AC power is produced by Andalay AC solar panels. It will allow for an easier and safer installation process for do-it-yourselfers and solar installers through reducing how many parts are needed by 80%. Potentially dangerous and complicated DC wiring is also eliminated.