Win-win windows: Treatments that look great and help you save energy

Changing seasons bring new trends in clothing and home décor. There are countless ways to update a space. For many, a few select changes around the house is a great way to kick off a season in style. For others, the new trends and endless options for updating your home can quickly become overwhelming. One thing to consider throughout the process is that some changes offer benefits beyond aesthetics.

If you’re one of those individuals looking to make a few changes around the house, switching out your window dressings could be a great place to start. Here’s a quick guide to help you narrow down what window treatments are the best fit for you:


Pros: Blinds come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. They even make wide, white ones that resemble indoor shutters (a win for Fixer-Upper fans everywhere). The adjustable slats help control light and ventilation. They can also help keep your home cool in summer, reducing heat gain by up to 45 percent.

Cons: Blinds don’t offer much energy savings in the winter. Those same slats that can let in a light breeze during the summer don’t do much to control heat loss in the winter.

Tip: On hot days, adjust the slats to reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling to diffuse heat and glare.


Pros: Options with draperies are almost limitless. Different fabric types, colors and patterns offer a wide variety of style options for your home. Depending on what type of fabric you choose, drapes can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Cons: Due to the wide variety of options available, it’s difficult to put a number on a drapery’s energy performance.

Tip: To optimize your draperies’ energy savings, hang them close to the wall and let them fall all the way to the floor. Seal them to the wall on both sides of the window and let them overlap in the middle. Choose a heavier fabric to help block more air that might sneak in through leaky windows.


Pros: Shades are a simple, effective solution. When properly installed, they are an energy-savings winner year-round.

Cons: None of the options at our local stores fit the style of our living room. I might consider these more for a basement room.

Tips: Mount your shades as close to the glass as possible to maximize energy savings potential.

The final word

Before you start looking at window coverings, take a closer look at your windows themselves. Take the time to first check your windows for air leakage and caulk or weatherstrip where needed. No matter what treatment you choose, no window dressing can make up for air leaks that aren’t addressed.

For details about even more window treatment options, visit the Department of Energy’s website or Black Hills Energy’s Keeping Energy Affordable Blog

Information from Black Hills Energy
May 2017