Whether it’s for the tax credits or because they simply want to help the environment, everyone seems to be “going green” these days when it comes to home remodeling or redecorating. Window treatments are a big part of redecorating. But, how do you choose blinds, shades or curtains that are eco-friendly?

First, you want to choose materials that are energy efficient. The best way to gauge this is by checking the treatment’s insulation properties. The R-Value will tell you the material’s effectiveness in preventing heat loss. The higher the R-Value is, the more effective it is. Conversely, the Shading Coefficient will tell you how much heat is coming through the window. In this case, you want the number to be lower rather higher. Ideally you want to select a treatment with a high R-Value and a low Shading Coefficient.

Next, you want to select a treatment that is made from renewable materials. Natural fabrics like cotton, silk or hemp are best when selecting drapery treatments. If you decide to go with wood treatments, always make sure the wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified. FSC accredited certifiers evaluate both forest management activities and tracking of forest products.

Using renewable materials for your window treatments is not only good for the environment, but for your health as well. Choosing plastic and faux wood blinds would be a bad idea as they contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC releases carcinogenic dioxin into the air during production and contains plasticizer called phthalates, which can set off respiratory problems and inhibit the body’s hormonal systems. Also, curtains and shades made with petroleum-based synthetics like polyester or nylon could be treated with deca-BDE, a member of the PBDE family. This brominated flame retardant can potentially break down into penta-BDE, which has been connected to thyroid ailments and learning development disorders in children.

It is almost impossible to find a window treatment that meets all of the above criteria, but with this information you will be able to make a better informed and more “green” decision when choosing your window treatments.

Richard Moyle is a representative of Horizon Window Treatments. Horizon has the largest showroom in Manhattan and is the #1 source for Hunter Douglas and Levelor blinds and shades. Horizon also offers a number of products that are GREENGUARD certified.

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