Creating a sustainable home means thinking about all aspects of your build, renovation or update, including the type of shutters you’re going to use.
Luckily, there are so many great options when it comes to shutters that can offer light, noise and insulation benefits for the living room and bedroom. What may suit some rooms in the house, say the kitchen or bathroom, might not be best for other rooms with differing light, noise and insulation needs.
Here are the basics on choosing eco-friendly shutters for your living room and bedroom.
Shutters and sustainability
There’s no doubt you’ve got a heap of window coverings to choose from for the living room and bedroom, like curtains, blinds, drapes, and shades.
Each option has its pros and cons, but a big plus for shutters is that they’re one of the best performers on sustainability. A main factor is their insulation-boosting ability, given they’re excellent at keeping heat in during winter, and keeping the heat out in warmer months of the year.
Shutters mitigate this energy loss by helping to regulate temperatures naturally, what’s known as ‘thermal efficiency’. This translates to less air-conditioning in summer and less heating in winter, reducing energy consumption, lowering your power bills and ultimately, doing good for the planet.
While some rooms, like the bathroom or laundry, require less insulation, it’s super important in the living room and bedroom because you spend so much time there - making a comfortable temperature a priority. Shutters are an energy-efficient and sustainable way to help achieve this.
Digging deeper, an easy way to establish the insulation performance of a window shutter is to enquire about its R-value. This measures the ability of a material to resist heat and a higher R-value means the better the material is at keeping a room cool.
While insulation is a key sustainability quality, another thing to take into consideration is durability. The more times you repair or replace, your shutters, the more material ends up in landfill, which is bad for the planet. This is particularly important in the living room and bedroom, which commonly get a lot of use.
That’s why quality is a key factor to keep in mind. There’ll be significant wear and tear on the shutters over the years, making it best to seek out quality shutters when you decide to make the initial investment.
Design and materials
There are a few considerations to balance here for your living room and bedroom shutters.
- Thickness: thick materials do not hold heat as well as thin materials, so 100 per cent solid shutters will do better on thermal performance than composite or hollow shutters.
- Style: full-height shutters like plantation or louvre shutters are preferable to café shutters which only cover half a window, offering less protection from outdoor conditions. Of course, it’s important to match design style with sustainability goals, so if you go for a shorter cafe-style blind you could compensate by choosing materials that hold heat well.
- Material: plastic or metal shutters and blinds may be cheaper, but they can have big environmental downsides. Shutters have traditionally been made from wood, but if you go down this route make sure the wood is sustainably sourced. Some other eco-friendly options include recycled wood, faux wood from recycled plastics, or even cork or bamboo.
Of course, shutters also must fit the style of your home, and a big factor here is colour. You may not know it, but colour also has an impact on heat-blocking ability.
White window shutters reflect light and radiant heat, making them good at blocking heat, while black, or darker tone shutters, absorb light and heat. This is sub-optimal for Australia’s hot summers as this heat might raise the overall temperature of your home.