Keeping the heat at bay in a home on a hot summer day is no easy task. But, by using an exterior or interior shade control, a homeowner can help reduce the heat gain in a home, and cut down on the electric bill when it comes to air-conditioning.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers this list of shading options to help keep a home cooler during warm weather months:

– Awnings: Block direct sunlight. Usually made of fabric or metal, awnings attach above the window and extend down and out. A properly installed awning can reduce heat gain up to 65 percent on southern windows and 77 percent on eastern windows. A gap between the top of the awning and the side of a house helps vent accumulated heat from under a solid-surface awning.

– Louvers: Adjustable slats that control the level of sunlight entering a home. Depending on the design, louvers can be vertical or horizontal, and adjusted from inside or outside your house.

– Shutters: Movable wooden or metal coverings that, when closed, keep sunlight out. Shutters are either solid or slatted with fixed or adjustable slats.

– Rolling shutters: Employ a series of horizontal slats that run down along a track. Rolling shades use a fabric. These are the most expensive shading options, but they work well and can provide security. Many exterior rolling shutters or shades can be conveniently controlled from the inside.

– Solar screens: Can help keep direct sunlight from entering the window, cut glare and block light without blocking the view or eliminating airflow. Similar to standard window screens, solar screens also provide privacy by restricting the view of the interior from outside. Although do-it-yourself kits are available, these screens will not last as long as professionally built screens.

– Draperies and curtains: Window curtains and draperies tightly woven, light-colored and made of opaque fabrics are effective sunlight reflectors. Keep the curtain as tight against the wall around the window as possible. Also, two layers of draperies improve the effectiveness of insulation when it is either hot or cold outside.

– Venetian blinds: Properly adjusting Venetian blinds can allow some light through the window, while reflecting the sun’s heat. Some newer blinds are coated with reflective finishes.

– Opaque roller shades are effective when fully drawn. But this type of shade can also block light and restrict airflow.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy

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