May 032010

Many people see the phrase living green as a catchphrase. After all, it’s trendy and every person wants to go green or look as if they are going green. One of the biggest reminders about living eco-friendly comes from the grocery store’s checkout lines. Many of these places use organic cotton bags, which promote the business itself or some kind of charity. If you opt to buy one of these reusable shopping bags, you’re liable to think what else you can do that will save the environment. You get home and begin to unpack those bags. You look outside to check on something and don’t even realize that your windows are the biggest places where you are able to make some “greener” choices.

A home’s windows are the largest contributor to losing energy and higher cost; thus this makes them the least green feature in a home. Windows will transmit heat easily so in the wintertime, you’re literally losing heat when you’re trying to stay warm. It doesn’t matter if the windows are sealed good and you have no drafts, those windows are going to be colder than the walls surrounding it. The more windows inside a home, the more heat that becomes lost.

When the summertime hits, there are two problems with windows. They are:

– They’ll allow heat to come into the home.
– The sun’s infrared heat will pass through the windows, which means the room and the objects in it will begin to heat up as well.

One of the simplest ways to deal with heat gain and loss is to do some window treatments. For instance, you can use a shear (or thin, semi-transparent curtain), which will create some airspace between the room and window keeping heat loss at a minimum. Cloth fabric can help save the environment whether it’s found in reusable shopping bags or window covering treatments.

Most new houses have double pane glass windows installed. What does this mean? It means there are two layers of glass with an airspace/vacuum. These kinds of windows mean you don’t need a window treatment and you don’t have to worry with losing lots of heat. However, it can still lose more heat than insulated walls so keep this in mind; you may want to go ahead with cloth window coverings to stay eco-friendly.

For older home, getting windows eco-friendly and green will take a little more money; yet it can be done a variety of ways with varying costs. The first thing you can do is place poly film over the outside of windows during the winter season. This thin plastic film can either be put in place by double face tape or staples; perhaps both if needed. When you have film on the outside, you seal drafts from coming in.

A second way to go green with windows is to use storm windows or place screens on them. A storm window is a single pane glass that is placed over the windows on the outside (similar to the film). However, these are mounted and attached to the home. Many of these will come with screens so you can open them during the summer time to cool down the home naturally.

Now if you really desire to go green and be eco-friendly, you should replace your windows. This means you’ll have to take out those old windows lining your home and replacing them with more modern ones such as the double pane glass windows. Keep in mind that if you go this route, these windows are, without a doubt, the greener, eco-friendly option.

Now, it’s time to look at your windows and see if there’s anything you can do to make them eco-friendlier.

Eliza Reeder writes articles that deal with environmental concerns and eco-friendly living. She encourages everyone to help protect our planet’s future by doing things like using reusable bags. You can find more eco-friendly living tips on her organic cotton bags site.

Author: Eliza Reeder
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Eliza Reeder

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