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Our new place has a few large windows facing west - this makes for a baking-hot house in the afternoons.

Curtains have been put up, but they are hot to the touch, and the rooms do feel hot (dark curtains). I'm figuring, while they give me privacy, they're not reflecting enough light away.

I figure I have the following options:

  1. Window Tint (dark or reflective)
  2. Blinds

My questions are:

  • Are these my best options or are there any others?
  • Which one of these is the most cost effective option? How do I calculate that?
  • Within these options, what additional things do I do (reflective tint, white blinds, etc) to get the most advantage?
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Why not both? A UV tint, plus blinds, plus an awning. PS: if you go for curtains, make sure the side that faces the sun is white! –  Alex Feinman Jul 5 '11 at 1:19
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1 Answer

The best is to block the sun from the outside. Options there would be:

  • plant a tree (pro: green; con: might take a few decades to get full effect)
  • awnings (pro: do great at blocking summer sun; con: costs a bit, takes some maintenance, can block views)

As for the windows themselves, are they high-efficiency? Ideally you'd have triple-pane glass with low-e coatings. If these are old windows, it might be time to invest in replacing them.

On the inside, blocking it with blinds is a good bet. A light, reflective or solar shade is a good bet.

Lots of commercial establishments will use shades such as these:

http://idahocanvas.com/roller_shades.htm

(Link is merely provided as an example product.)

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