Fall Decorating Tip: thermal curtains

We reported last December that up to 30 percent of a building's heat is lost through its windows. That's a lot of extra energy being wasted to compensate for such a loss—not to mention money. We've found a very simple, cost-effective way to deal with the heat we'd otherwise be losing through our windows:

thermal curtains


The lovely lace curtains of summer...

...traded for blinds and thermal curtains (which we untie at night to cover the window entirely).

Thermal curtains (available in a variety of sizes, colors, and prices) can block a significant portion of heat loss through windows in your house. And if you're of the DIY persuasion, you can buy

radiant fabric that will reduce heat loss through windows by up to 95 percent

and sew that onto the backs of existing curtains or cool fabric you find at your local store. Now we're cooking.

If you're going to attempt this in parts of your house, I'd recommend bedrooms, common areas, then bathrooms in that order. And if you're going to retrofit every window, err on the side of frugality and check outlet stores online or in your town to track down overstock items you can get a great deal on (we recently found a bunch of thermal-backed curtains for $6/panel, down from $40).

You can experiment with tying back your curtains during the day to let the solar rays in, and letting the drapes hang down over your windows after dark.

Got a great tip for reducing energy consumption in the colder months? Leave your ideas here as comments or e-mail




Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.