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Spend $2,400 now and SAVE $595 each year... ROI = 24.8%
Proper window treatments can save you money in both the heating and cooling season. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), 25% of the energy used to heat and cool small offices and homes goes right out the window. The US average cost per employee for heating and cooling is $238 per year. For an office of ten employees, that adds up to $2,380, of which $595 is literally "going out the window".
The reality of this is clear when you think that windows make up around 25% of an exterior wall surface and windows have an insulation 'R' value that is only around 2 versus a wall that has an 'R' value by code of 19. The windows are like thermal holes in your office with only one tenth of the insulation as the walls. Over the summer, windows let in the light and the heat. Interior shades and blinds can help keep the heat out. However, shading windows from the outside is even more effective. Shading options include awnings, solar shade screens, or tinted window film.
In larger buildings, most of the air conditioning load comes from the lights, equipment, and people inside. In smaller offices, a larger share comes from outside. When it’s hot and sunny, air conditioning use simply increases. Fortunately, there are great ways to cut the solar heat gain and the associated cooling costs.
Solar heat gain occurs through a building’s roof, windows, and walls. There are “shading” opportunities for all three surfaces. Reflective smart roof coatings, office vegetation shading, and window films and shading. Not every office building can take advantage of all three, but most can at least take advantage of window films and shading. Make sure to check out products with Sun Shades and Honeycombs for energy savings. If your small business office has operable windows, you can also consider installing 'Solar Screens'. They’ll keep that cool breeze coming through, but will block up to 80% of the sun’s heat and glare. When it comes to heat loss in the winter, energy savings can come with 'Thermal' curtains that let the light in but keep the heat from getting out.
Consider high insulation translucent curtains and also environmentally friendly, toxic free fabrics. You not only save on the utilities, but you may also save on your employees health, since eco friendly fabrics are not full of the chemicals used in commercial fabric production. If you take the time to draw Thermal curtains shut, especially on the north side and in the evening over the winter, you will cost-effectively 'hold' in the heat. There are diverse styles of coverings, including Roman fold, top/down, bottom/up and motorized, and the average R-values range from 2 to 2.9, plus adding an optional liner increases that by one to two points. So, you can more than double the insulation value of your windows. Thermal double cellular shades cost between $150–$250 per window so, before you spend money on typical corporate 'blinds', consider the savings.
The ROI Calculation is based on a 2,500 sq. ft. office with ten employees, 12 windows (offices plus allowance for conference or break room), and 12 cellular blinds at $2,400 each. When it comes to installation, if you have a screw gun or a handy employee you can doeach window in a few minutes. The $2,400 in cost saves about $3,000 in the first five years. Naturally, you may find that there are certain windows that present larger heat gain or heat loss than others due to the orientation of the rooms, so you can always start by buying and installing just a few for the key windows.