Tom Shafer

Blinds built into your replacement windows save energy

August 12, 2011

Just when you thought you were finished making decisions about the options for your replacement windows, here is one more. Some manufacturers are offering one-inch-wide mini-blinds and pull-down, pleated shades inserted between the glass (BTG) of their replacement windows and doors.

Before you reject the idea simply because you are overwhelmed by window options, consider the benefits of BTG blinds and shades:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Choice of colors
  3. No hazardous cords to pose a threat to children and pets
  4. Allergens reduced without the need to vacuum or dust blinds and shades
  5. Improved energy-efficiency above and beyond that of insulated, low-e windows with indoor window coverings

The window treatments are permanently sealed between the glass in the airspace. You open, raise and lower them with a mechanism outside the glass unit operated by magnets. Since the blinds or shades are sealed between the glass, they cannot get dirty.

Internal (between-the-glass) miniblinds

Courtesy of creativehome4u.blogspot.com

Why are BTG blinds and shades more energy efficient?

Using low-e glass and internal blinds together contributes to making the entire glass unit more thermally efficient. The internal blinds absorb the solar heat gain, while the low-e coating on the inside of the interior lite of glass bounces the heat back into the room in winter. In the summer, they block the sun to keep heat out.

Many manufacturers offer BTG blinds in their door product line, including French and sliding patio doors as well as entrance doors. Floor length BTG blinds are especially desirable in households with pets and children; they cannot tangle the blinds--or get tangled in them.

Who makes built-in window blinds and shades?

BTG blinds and shades are still not very common as replacement window options, but only because of the many blind and shade sizes needed to accommodate the multitude of widths and lengths of windows most manufacturers stock. However, Pella, Eagle and Gorell are three of several manufacturers offering them.

BTG blinds and shades come in a variety of colors. Pella offers both aluminum-slat blinds and fabric shades for their windows: the blinds allow you to control the degree of light allowed in, while the cellular-style shades can be raised or lowered from either the top or bottom to give you a choice of privacy and light options.

Don't worry about a brain overload when it comes to this replacement window decision. It could very well be a "no-brainer."

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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