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Saving Energy with Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades combine the energy saving technology of double-paned windows with the versatility of shades. These unique window coverings trap pockets of air next to the window to decrease heat loss and increase insulation within the home.

Not all cellular shades provide the same insulation, however, so you'll need to consider a few variables:

Cellular shades are named for the pockets of air that run parallel to the windowsill. These cells (or honeycombs) trap air between two sheets of fabric and cause an insulating blanket between the window and the room. Although they have a greater thickness than pleated shades, cellular shades have a similar appearance to these traditional window coverings.

Cell Size

Cell size refers to the width of the actual pocket of air created when the shade is pulled down. Although the size of the cell is usually directly proportional to the width of fabric between pleats, it's not always the case and you need to be sure that the look and function of your cellular shades meets your individual needs. When it comes to insulating properties, smaller cells work better when grouped in numbers, but larger cells work better as a single layer.

Cell Number

These cell numbers refer to the cross section of the cellular shades. Many cellular shades offer a single layer of cells while others offer multiple cell layers. Single cells refer to a single line of air pockets between the window and your room while double or triple layers refer to increased layers of cells. The appearance of the shade only depends on the pleat or cell size you choose and is not affected by the cell count. Double or Triple cells will, however, be thicker cellular shades since they trap more air between you and the outdoors.

Double and Triple layered cellular shades provide greater insulation and therefore more energy savings. These types of shades are almost exclusively available as small cell sizes and, therefore, small pleats. There are some manufacturers, like Hunter Douglas, that make wider pleated cellular shades but manage to hide bunches of smaller cells within the pleats. Although these cellular shades are still thick, they do provide the look of wide pleats while maintaining the energy efficiency of multiple small cells.

Fabric Choice and Thickness

Cellular shades come in all types of fabrics with various light diffusing properties. You can choose semi-sheer or opaque cellular shades that come in all sorts of colors and weaves. If you are looking to maximize your energy efficiency, however, you need to choose the thickest and most opaque fabrics that suit your needs.

Tight weaves help hold in air and reduce heat loss from your room. Cellular shades also minimize any solar heat that might permeate thinner fabrics. Opacity also helps minimize heat loss and maximize energy efficiency, and have more insulating value.

Window Size and Type

Typically, no matter what window covering you have, the larger the window, the greater the energy loss. Double panes help, but large windows still increase the absorption of sunlight into the home and conduct heat loss to the outdoors. Keep in mind that larger windows look better with larger pleated cellular shades so you may want to consider choosing ones that hide multiple small cells within larger pleats.

No matter what you choose, though, cellular shades are far superior to ordinary shades at saving energy and saving you money. The insulating properties of these unique shades make them especially appropriate for hotter and cooler regions where homeowners need to maximize energy efficiency by minimizing heat loss or gain through their windows.