Friday, October 28, 2011

Pleated Shades vs Cellular Shades the HEATed Debate in Arizona

Here in the Valley of the Sun, window coverings play an important role in the energy efficiency of our homes.  Besides the looks , functionality, available options, and care requirements of a window treatment, it’s energy  efficiency is one of the most considered factors when deciding which type of window covering is best for your home.

Many consumers want to compare the Pleated Shade to theCellular (often called honeycomb) Shade.  Both have similar looks with crisp, distinctive pleats.  Both are available with the usual upgrades like Top down, Bottom up, cordless, continuous cord loop and even motorization.  Both also come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics, as well as multiple stages of light filtering or privacy.

One of the main differences between pleated and cellular shades is their inner construction.  While you can add a “liner” to the pleated shade for privacy and light filtering assistance, the cellular shades have a honeycomb structure between the pleats that act as an efficient insulator for hot or cold conditions.  This is very important as we have such hot summer temperatures here in Arizona.  The pleated shades with a liner will help insulate too, just not nearly as well as the cellular shades.

Other differences between pleated and cellular shades are that pleated shades offer one size pleats, while cellular shades come in a variety of pleat sizes.  The size pleat you choose really only depends on the look you want.  Cellular shades are also available in single, double, and triple cells.

Single cell shades consist of a single layer of cells.  These shades come in a wide variety of cell pleats and widths.  Single cell shades offer light diffusion, some energy efficiency and some noise insulation.  Basically, these are designed to trap a single layer of air between your room and the outside.

Double cell shades consist of two layer of interconnected cells, one row of cells closer to the room and the other closer to the window.  Double cells offer better sound and energy insulation, but do not come in the same range of cell sizes as single cells.
Triple cell shades refer to cellular shades with at least three layers of cells between the room and the outdoors.  These shades offer maximum insulation and help with energy or heat loss.  Although these shades offer excellent noise insulation, they're most often used in homes where blazing sun can cause energy concerns.

The difference in cost between pleated and cellular shades is dependent on how many cells you choose.  Assuming you went with the same options, the difference in price between a single cell cellular shade and a pleated shade is approximately 20%.  As you get into the double and triple cell shades the cost difference gets quite large.

Both types of shades look nice, but the long term energy savings attribute make the cellular shades the better choice especially here in Arizona with our extreme summer time temperatures.

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