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Open the Window to Energy Savings

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Open the Window to Energy Savings

This Earth Day we’re celebrating by taking a look at something almost every business has: windows.

One of the biggest threats to the Earth are greenhouse gas emissions. Gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other fluorinated gases trap heat in our atmosphere, and can cause the earth to warm.

But every business can do its part to help the earth by using less energy. Here are our top picks for making sure you're getting the most out of your windows.

Seal leaks and cracks

If you’re like most businesses in the United States, you spend a large chunk of your budget on heating and cooling each month. This is especially true in winter, when heating bills are highest, and in summer, when you’re running the A/C. To make sure you’re not letting any conditioned air go to waste, check your windows and window frames for leaks and cracks. Sometimes simply re-caulking can do the trick.

Consider installing double panes

Of course, even a window well-sealed for air leaks isn’t usually as efficient as, say, an insulated wall. But if your windows are due for a replacement, you should consider going with double-paned windows. This style of window has two sheets of glass instead of one, and the sealed pocket of air in between acts as insulation from cold and hot air.

Take advantage of natural light

Once your windows are sealed to control temperature, you can start looking at them as an asset in lighting. After all, another big chunk of your energy bill comes from electric lighting. Windows offer an opportunity to not only save on electricity, but also to bring natural light into your space.

Make sure to open blinds and curtains during the appropriate times of the day, and even consider switching off the overhead lights. Many businesses already over-illuminate their buildings with buzzy, bright fluorescents or halogens. These can actually make customers and employees less happy than gentle sunlight in dimmer spaces. Even better? Hang mirrors in rooms and hallways to keep light bouncing around if external windows are sparse.

Add window treatments

Window treatments such as blinds, shades, curtains or tints can help keep the sun out on warm days. Adding new window treatments, or changing how you use existing ones is a great way to save energy from season to season. Thick or thermal curtains and some styles of honeycomb blinds can help keep heat inside if you don’t have double-pane windows. You can also use them on warm summer days to keep hot sunlight out. If you have an area that received a lot of direct sunlight, such as a large display window, you should also consider adding an exterior awning.

Take advantage of natural heat

However, sunlight can also help warm up your space when it’s chilly. Even if window panes are cold to the touch, letting the warmth of the sun in can give your heating system a break. 

Solar blinds

Finally, if you’re really ambitious, there's a fun way to use your windows to actually generate power: install solar blinds. This handy little invention has turned photovoltaic strips into elegant adjustable blinds that will soak up the sun and generate at least a small amount of power.

Your windows have a lot more to do with the power bill than many business owners realize. Make use of all that sunny real estate by letting in the natural light and strategically allowing or blocking outside temperature from getting in. 

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Posted: April 20, 2018