Shutters are a great way to increase the sustainability of your home because they’re excellent at helping keep the heat in during winter and out in warmer months of the year.
Beyond sustainability, shutters have added benefits in that they offer a high level of privacy, are easy to maintain and clean, and come in a range of styles to fit with existing décor.
Here’s the lowdown on sustainable shutters.
Shutters are a type of window covering that can be attached either internally or externally to your home and come in a range of styles such as plantation, louvred, café or shaker.
Shutters can be made of a variety of materials, including fabric, timber, faux wood, steel, aluminium, or vinyl. As a window covering, they’re differentiated in style and operation from other kinds of attachments like blinds, shades, screens, curtains or awnings.
A key attraction of shutters is that they provide great insulation for homes. Keep this in mind: about 40% of home heating energy is lost through windows, while in hotter months about 87% of sunlight falling on windows enters to become heat.
Shutters mitigate this energy loss by helping to regulate temperatures naturally. More natural comfort means less air-conditioning and heating, translating to lower energy consumption and a more sustainable dwelling. It also means cheaper power bills.
Wood: Shutters are traditionally made of hardwood, and many still are. If you opt for hardwood shutters, make sure the timber used is certified to either Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. These are internationally recognised certifications for sustainable forest management.
When it comes to hardwood, a popular and eco-friendly option is Paulownia, which is a fast-growing timber that is strong yet lightweight, so it is ideal for window shutters.
There’s also recycled wood shutters available, which are another environmentally friendly alternative. In addition to wood, there’s also shutters that can be made of cork, or bamboo, both renewable resources that have less of a negative environmental impact.
Faux wood: imitation wood shutters look just like real wood but have durability advantages over timber, especially in rooms like bathrooms where there’s a lot of moisture. If you go down this route, look for a faux wood material that’s made from recycled material.
Poly-composite: shutters made of plastic composites are a good choice for insulation because they are hollow and trap the air inside, have a long life and have low maintenance costs.
It’s a popular substance for homeowners, especially those on a tight budget, but watch out as there are a variety of types, with some still containing damaging ingredients like chlorine.
Because window shutters are made of materials like wood, faux wood or PVC composite, they tend to last longer than blinds or curtains, with less need to replace them over time.
The reason for this is that PVC composite and faux wood are made from highly-resistant synthetic materials that have been designed not to crack, warp or discolour. High-quality wood shutters can also last for decades but lower-quality wood shutters degrade faster.
While curtains and blinds need repairs and cleaning every now and then, that’s not the case with shutters. In the end, fewer replacements and fixing of shutters means less material ends up in landfill, reducing the impact of your shutters on the environment.
Indeed, shutters only require a light dust every week or so. This easy maintenance both saves you money and lowers your carbon footprint with less cleaning using chemicals.