• Daniel Newton

Keeping warm for less this winter

Napier, Hastings, Clive, Havelock North, Waipukurau, Waipawa, Norsewood, It doesn't matter where in Hawke's Bay you live; while we have some of the best summer weather in the country, our winters can get cold.

As we enter winter, it makes sense to focus on New Zealand's most insulative window furnishing option, the Luxaflex Duette Shade.

Hunter Douglas released the Duette Shade, the world's first 'honeycomb' or 'cellular' shade, in 1985 to combat increasing energy prices. Over the last 37 years, Hunter Douglas has refined the product with aesthetics, insulation and child safety as the focus.

Most of us are familiar with the building standards of New Zealand's older homes. Too hot in the summer, freezing in the winter. While some of this can be attributed to a lack of insulation and poor orientation to the sun, the fact is that up to 30% of a home's total heat loss occurs through uncovered windows.

Dubbed "the designer's alternative to double glazing", Duette blinds' cells form insulating air traps, while the fabric can reflect heat. The overall effect is to keep a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, reducing your heating and cooling costs in the process.

Cost is a massive consideration for nearly all of us. 1/3 of Kiwi's energy bills are attributed to heating and cooling. So why not offer one of the best products today to help cut costs? With sufficient insulation, our customers can save more money all year round.

When we think of insulation, one of the things we often forget is the added benefits of sound insulation. Duette® Shades make the perfect choice when looking at blinds for the bedroom or across your home, including media rooms.

With the Luxaflex Duette® Shades honeycomb technology, in addition to their energy efficiency properties that help keep your home warm in winter and cooler in summer, the technology also helps to reduce everyday sound energy. Sound energy is absorbed within the cell, dulling exterior noise by up to 55%, even with Translucent fabric. They are allowing light to enter your home while keeping noise at bay.

A product's "R-value" measures its ability to resist heat flow. In a home during winter, R-values indicate the power of walls, roofs and windows to keep the heat inside. The higher its R-value, the more insulation a product provides. A fully recessed, reveal-mounted Duette® Architella® Shade can increase the R-value** of a 3mm single glazed window from 0.127 to 0.775, reducing heat transfer by 83%. Independent modelling has shown that this, in turn, can reduce an average home's heating costs by up to 43.3%

In November 2021, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment increased the required insulation standards for new builds, being phased in over the next 12-24 months. Standard double glazing has been cited as not being insulative enough. Unless the cavity between glass panels is argon filled and the glass coated with a low E coating, regular double glazing isn't sufficient to ensure a warm, comfortable home and meet New Zealand's ongoing efforts on our road to zero carbon emissions.

Why are Duette Blinds so effective?

In March 2021, Consumer New Zealand thoroughly investigated the effectiveness of different types of window coverings. The report can be found here.

The report gives an excellent explanation of the reverse chimney effect. - Cool air is denser (heavier) than warm air. When cold outside, the inside air close to a window pane is cooled and tends to sink. As this cooled air sinks, it gets replaced by warmer air from other parts of the room. This creates a circulating air current that cools the room.

Curtains that aren't sealed at the top or bottom to stop these air currents can worsen the situation by forming a channel between the window and curtain. This allows cooled air to flow continuously and chill the room faster.

A fully recessed, reveal mounted Duette shade reduces this chimney effect by stopping the cool air from dropping under the window furnishing and, in turn, won't pull the warm air from above the window furnishing.

Air is a fantastic insulator, as long as it cannot move. The 'cellular' or 'honeycomb' structure of Duette shades creates a pocket where the air cannot move. Duette Architella Blinds take this concept one step further. By having a cell within a cell, there are essentially three pockets (plus the cavity between the blind and the window) where the air cannot move.

Cost versus savings:

The big question is, do Duette Blinds justify the initial investment?

To answer this, we will look at a recent order Blind Boutique recently supplied and apply the savings figures calculated in the Consumer New Zealand report.

The report found a single cellular blind in a 1.8 sqm window saved $10.26 over two months. This was based on energy prices of $0.26/kWh. MBIE currently has domestic energy prices at $0.30/kWh, an increase of 15% ($11.80). This equates to $61.56 ($70.80) per year. Apply these figures to a Duette sale Blind Boutique recently installed, a total of 25.6 sqm for a cost of $5000.00. The yearly saving will be around $875.52 ($1006.85). Given even the cheapest product would cost about $2500.00, the customer has gotten one of the most elegant window furnishings available, and the additional cost will be paid off in less than three years.

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