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The Inside Outside Guys: Window Treatments Add Insulation as Well as Aesthetic Appeal

From The Detroit News | By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein

DETROIT, June 6, 2024 ~ Why do buildings have windows?

It seems a bit crazy to design secure shelter against enemies and the environment only to construct openings in the sidewalls of a house.

But for several thousand years, our ideal home environment has balanced the concept of security and privacy with the need for natural light, ventilation and a blended visual interaction with the outdoors.

Extensive use of windows in homes was long considered a luxury. People were very concerned about heat loss in the winter through the openings and our designs centered around providing and conserving heat in the cold weather months.


June 15, 2024 ~ Chuck “The Inside Guy” Breidenstein and Ken “The Outside Guy” Calverly offer the knowledge and resources you need to make the home of your dreams a reality.


Even the Sears catalog of the 1920s touted purchase and use of exterior storm windows to reduce coal bills.

From that point, we progressed to the use of heating with relatively inexpensive natural gas that allowed us to increase our use of glass in exterior walls to the point of building curtain walls; floor-to-ceiling fixed glass panels that literally blended the home into its natural surrounds.

In the 1980s things changed. We “knew” that our stores of natural gas were soon to be depleted, and “experts” predicted dire consequences with the impending global cooling.

Fuel-efficient cars became the go-to purchase and national organizations rallied to impose tighter restrictions on building construction with regard to energy efficiency. One consequence of this thinking in the early ’90s was to restrict the percentage of the outside walls of a structure that could be glazed.

Indeed, the three-walled sunroom many of us enjoy today would not even be allowed if suggested modifications became code. The building industry vigorously opposed such restrictions, citing design freedom and the advancement of window and glass technology with regard to energy conservation.

Today the building codes “allow” for the generous use of windows in construction when balanced against other energy conservation practices, like increased thermal insulation and air sealing of structures.

Current home design will incorporate windows in anywhere from 15% to 40% or more of the exterior wall surface.

The beauty of all these windows is easily recognized by most homeowners, but the beast is in the details, as pointed out by Tanya Strait, Window Treatment Expert and Owner of Sparkle Blinds in Shelby Township.

According to Strait, while we want to enjoy the view through the glass, we do not want to allow for the invasion of privacy from the outdoors.

There is also concern for unwanted solar heat gain in the summer months and heat loss in the cold winter months.

UV rays from the sun can damage fabrics and floor coverings, while glare from the light outside might impact everything from a comfortable late morning sleep in to watching the big screen in the TV room.

And how about the “feel” of a room? Those same windows, left untreated, may intrude on the design and intended use of a room.

Strait readily points out the many options available to owners wanting to resolve all these issues without a lot of maintenance, high cost, or difficulty in use.

Companies like Sparkle Blinds offer a wide range of available solutions in a service oriented environment. Simply call or go online to set up an in-house design consultation to explore all the materials, options and benefits you can enjoy.

Materials used for treatments include everything from high-end composites to real wood, custom fabrics designed to control privacy, light, and temperature, and grasses, reeds, rattan and bamboo.

This variety of product, from cordless blinds to motorized shades, allows for good design to assure safety, ease of use, and seamless integration with your interior decor.

Professionally specified window treatments can also lend an elegance that few single elements will bring.

This is not a DIY project. In addition to proper design and specification, service today should include complete installation, maintenance and cleaning.

Our advice is to embrace the great window product that is available and to upgrade the amenity with custom treatments that enhance enjoyment.

If you want great products and value that will reward you for years, talk with the professionals that can be found every day at InsideOutsideGuys.com.


For more advice, listen to “The Inside Outside Guys” every Saturday and Sunday on 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to noon or contact them at InsideOutsideGuys.com.