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Old 04-16-14, 09:24 AM   #1
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Question Roll-up window shades

I am not handy.

My situation:
--The back of my small (1200 sq ft) house faces south
--three almost floor to ceiling south-facing windows downstairs in the LR/DR.
--I don't use this room during the day.
--It has 3 large doorways open to the rest of the house.
--I live in RI.

After looking at a lot of diy projects to reflect summer heat out and absorb winter solar heat in, I'm wondering if switching out shades winter/summer might be a way for someone like me to get at least little help from the sun. Not very efficient, but better than nothing. I'd like your opinions on this.

For south-facing windows, 3 shades total. For all others, 1 shade only.

Winter heat-absorbing shades:
--closed in LR/DR during the day to absorb sun heat
--basic roll-up shades, black side facing out (the window glass)
--installed 3 inches down from the top of the windows leaving gap for rising hot air
--extending down, leaving a 3 inch gap at the bottom to suck in cooler air
--installed inside window frame
--removed entirely during spring/summer/fall

Switch out roll-up shades, 1 for winter, 1 for summer:
--for winter, just regular shades, color pale gray both sides
--Closed at night during the winter
--open during the day during winter
--for summer, reflective one side, facing out, pale gray inside
--closed during the day in summer
--both summer and winter, installed outside frame

For the rest of my windows (N, E, W exposures), same as winter shades--no switching out with summer shades.

Good plan? Almost useless plan? Tweakable plan?

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Old 04-16-14, 02:40 PM   #2
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I get where you're going with this. I think you might be better off with replacing the windows with double or triple pane windows, but it sounds like a decent inexpensive alternative to other renovations. Just a couple of thoughts...

Never have a dark colored shade in the summer, the closer to white, the better. You want the energy from the light to reflect out and leave the house. Dark will absorb the heat, so during winter: OK, during summer: get ready to cook.

As far as the 3" on top and bottom it is a nice idea, I assume these would be for the floor to ceiling windows? Don't know if anybody has tried it before, but it would be worth a try to find out. Only thing I would say is that you will want somewhere for the hot air to go, so having some sort of fan or HVAC inlet up high would be good. Otherwise, the hot air will eventually heat the whole room and the 3" gaps would be useless.

I'm a little confused about what you mean with your second set of plans for changing winter to summer. Are those different windows?

For your other directions, I would say as big of windows you can get and as little coverings as possible on the north side. This will allow the most natural light into the house, with very little heat energy. The east side can probably just have regular shades, but I would say keep them closed at night during summer that way you don't heat up the house in the morning before you wake up. The west should have as few and as small of windows as possible (no windows would be best) and you should treat the west like you treat the south (as in don't let heat in as much as you possibly can).
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Old 04-17-14, 03:18 PM   #3
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Thanks! The windows are relatively new and double-paned.
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Old 04-17-14, 06:54 PM   #4
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Another idea for summer is dark colored screens on the outside. They don't have to be black, just not white or silver. A large portion of the heat will be absorbed outdoors, and heat the atmosphere. I believe xringer tested and approved this method in one of his sanyo heat pump threads. He lives near Boston.
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Old 04-17-14, 10:28 PM   #5
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Clever! I did not know this.
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Old 04-21-14, 01:34 PM   #6
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I really like your idea of the black winter shades with an air gap top and bottom for convective circulation. I've looked at a lot of solar air heaters and the stories that come with them, so I believe I would make the shades long enough to close the bottom gap at night to reduce / prevent the possibility of reverse air flow causing it to cool the inside of the house after dark.

Best wishes on your project!
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Old 06-22-14, 04:32 PM   #7
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I lived 25 miles South of Tucson 30 years ago.

On all of my windows that got direct Sunlight, I installed Kaiser sun shades.

They have small louvers stamped out of thin aluminum mounted with aluminum standoffs. They custom make them for the size of window. Come in light green or black.

They worked great, but vision was limited to about 10' out from house.

They could be removed in about 10 minutes each for Winter heat gain, (which I never did)

Last edited by buffalobillpatrick; 06-22-14 at 04:34 PM..
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Old 06-23-14, 10:25 AM   #8
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for ease of construction , you could use a cotton drop cloth (or whatever else you can think of) to make a outdoor curtains for summer use, darkish , like was suggested previously.

Tack the top of the material with a wood strip to the top of the window frame , and stretch the material out downward out from the window/house with 2 guide poles.

I heard of this method from a old timer on the next block who told me that this is the way he kept his house cool back in the 60's when raising his family.

He also said they would spray the curtains down with water for a air condition effect on the hottest days.

Last edited by ecomodded; 06-23-14 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 07-20-14, 04:42 AM   #9
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I was thinking about the same last winter. How about blinds, one side black the other white?
Gila makes a peel and cling removable low e window film. It is mirrored and can help reflect solar heat gain. You might be able to remove it for winter and re-install for summer. I did 3 windows last week when I realized how hot my privacy window clings were getting on my kids' rooms. Even through a double pane and a storm the faux stained glass window cling felt well over 100F!
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Old 07-24-14, 06:41 AM   #10
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During trips to Europe, I have seen lots of different window coverings. Many of them are on sliders like barn doors on the outside of the house. Most windows in Europe open inwards (french door type or tilt and turn) so they can access them without getting stuck. Some nice ones are painted metal with stars or moons cut in them to give a nice dappled light when closed then just slide open when you want the light. Very low tech but works well.

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heat-absorbing, heat-reflecting, roll-up, shades

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