When considering ways to make a building eco-friendly, the windows are always a major issue. Insulation is the first step in reducing your home’s carbon footprint, and although they are not the only culprit, doors and windows are the main areas where heat can escape and where cold air can enter.

Of course windows provide many benefits, the most important being their obvious role of allowing plenty of natural light to enter the rooms. The fresh air through an open window is also important for the health and well-being of occupants, as well as reducing the risk of damp and mould.

Modern triple glazing techniques and airtight fittings can effectively keep out the winter weather thereby reducing the energy consumption required to heat the house. It is also definitely worth giving some thought to the form of window dressing you use. This can make a contribution to how environmentally sustainable your property is, and there are many reasons why plantation shutters are the most energy efficient window covering currently available.

Keep out the draughts

Because plantation shutters are made from solid wood they are easily the most effective window treatment in terms of making your property airtight and keeping out draughts – a first principle in terms of establishing a low-carbon home. Ideally they would be used in combination with well-glazed windows, but they can also serve as a low-cost alternative to expensive glazing if you’re trying to make the best of an older property.

Use less energy

The main way to lower our carbon footprint is to cut down on our energy use, which obviously has additional benefits in terms of lower bills – great for your winter budget. Because shutters can be made to measure and so fit exactly in your window to provide a solid barrier, they are far more effective than curtains or blinds at preventing heat escaping or cold air getting in. This means that you can turn down the central heating, so making the energy savings mentioned above.

Free lighting

Another way that our homes use up energy is through artificial lighting. When shutters are fully opened they let in the maximum amount of daylight, so providing a free natural alternative to electric lights. This means you don’t need to turn on the house lights until later in the evening.

Natural light has many other benefits over artificial light as well. It is an essential source of vitamin D, which we absorb through our skin from sunlight even if it’s filtered through a window. Exposure to natural light can also help to fight depression. As part of a holistic approach to eco-friendly living, exposure to sunlight helps us to live in a more natural way, in tune with the rhythms of the planet.

Low maintenance

To be kept in good condition curtains need to be taken down and machine washed, which further adds to your home’s energy usage. In contrast, shutters can simply be wiped down to keep them dust and dirt free. Unlike other window treatments they won’t harbour harmful bacteria, damp or allergens, and can be repainted or repaired rather than replaced when they start to look old, so cutting down on over-consumption.

Sustainable materials

Shutters can be made from a variety of materials, but most commonly they’re made from wood which of course is a 100% natural resource. Look for wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that is guaranteed sustainable, as the FSC make sure that a new tree is planted for each one that’s cut down.

A versatile barrier

While the solid wood barrier of a set of shutters provides extra insulation in the winter, plantation shutters can also allow for maximum ventilation in the summer, removing the need for energy-consuming air conditioning systems. When it’s warm enough, the flow of natural air through your home can be highly beneficial for health. Choosing plantation shutters gives you a far wider range of options than going for alternative window dressings, without any need to compromise on sustainability or style.

We hope that this has given you a few ideas as to why buying plantation shutters might be the perfect next step in creating your low carbon home. Available in a range of styles they are suitable for any room, and unlike some other eco-friendly solutions, window shutters are eminently affordable. Why not look into ordering a set today?

Claire Preece