Save Energy with Insulated Roman Shades

Trying sewing your own Roman shades to offset the escalating costs of heating and cooling costs. One cost-effective way to reduce heat exchange by 45 percent and decrease power bill is to dress your windows with insulated shades. While you can purchase pre-insulated Roman shades to reduce energy costs, sewing your own provides an up-front cost savings of up to 30 percent—as well as a fun project, especially if you are handy with a sewing machine.

Benefits of Roman Shades

Before getting into the construction of insulated Roman shades, here is some background information designed to help educate you on heat transfer through windows and why insulation can prove life saving in some locations.

Windows, even those constructed in houses residing in cooler climates, can account for 25 to 40 percent of the amount of energy required to cool or prevent heat loss from a space or room. This variance depends on how well the glazing is tinted or shaded. Most windows and window treatments are rated with an R-value, which measures a material’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater resistance to the movement of heat. Adding a ½-inch to 1 inch of insulation to your Roman shades can increase the R-value by as much as 3 points. Just to put this in perspective, most standard blinds and curtains have an R-value of 1. Drywall, by comparison, has a minimum required starter value closer to 11. Well-insulated Roman shades that prevent heat loss during colder periods and heat gain in warmer months, posses R-values between 3.8 and 7.

Saving Energy

The desired energy savings can be achieved through sewing Roman shades constructed with the right insulation fabric and room for dead air spaces. Well-insulated Roman shades will consist of 3 layers: the face, an interlining, and a back lining. The interlining is the most critical to providing good insulation. This layer is situated just beneath the decorative fabric and should be constructed of a soft, near felt-like dense material, such as a tightly women cotton. Back this up with a drapery liner. Basic liners that consist of a 70 percent polyester and 30 percent cotton blend will work, but for even greater insulation, choose a thermal liner constructed of a 50-to-50 percent ratio of cotton to polyester.

Choosing Insulating Materials

While it would be easy to assume that fabric choice is most critical to the insulation performance, the amount of dead air space is actually the greatest insulation factor. The each layer adds a dead air space, reducing the amount of convection, another factor of heat transfer. While sewing Roman shades, each layer should only be bound at the top lift tape or ring, allowing the linings to hang free and maximize the amount of dead air space.  

Before breaking out the sewing machine, understand that insulating Roman shades removes the ability to see out of them while they are closed. Insulated Roman shades are designed to reduce heat transfer and increase energy savings, rather than filtering natural light.