Traveling through Europe, seeing many different construction methods, I try to take an objective look at why things are done a certain way.

One of the most positive things that I see done in Europe compared to the US is that a lot of their (almost all in some regions) window blinds are built into the window unit and are on the outside.

The first benefit and a much sleeker inside that isn't cluttered by blinds and then there has to be a substantial insulating factor.

Is there any reason why this isn't implemented in the US? And do you know of any reports/studies done on the comparative energy savings of outside blinds?

Note that this is a bit pricey because it has the electric guidance for the blinds. Most have metal chains and the preferred is usually the chain since it is difficult to fix the electric ones plus the extra hookup. I would expect to pay 200-300 Euros for a window this size normally.

  • 3
    I noticed all of that too. Why does the south of France not have window screens? Some areas have plenty of mosquitoes, but still no screens. In the summer, everyone wants cool air to come inside, but without screens the mosquitoes prevent opening the windows.
    – wallyk
    May 9, 2014 at 22:25
  • @wallyk - that is a great question too. Stayed at a great house with a terrace. Damn flies and bees infiltrating all week. I think it might be cosmetic.
    – DMoore
    May 9, 2014 at 22:33
  • I lived in Italy for a few years. There they are called tapparelle. Is that what you're talking about? google.com/…. They are awesome, but they don't look great: mascheroni.biz/polopoly_fs/1.1434264.1290005457!/httpImage/…
    – Trevor
    May 10, 2014 at 3:38
  • @Trevor - that is basically it. I will try to add more info to the question too. The only difference in France is all of the windows I come across have the blind mechanism box on the inside, where your picture is on the outside of the house. From the outside you can't even notice the windows have blinds unless you are up close or blinds are down, from the inside they plaster over the mechanism box.
    – DMoore
    May 10, 2014 at 12:12
  • These shutters are very common in Argentina as well. Almost every home and apartment in the country has them. They are commonly called Percianas and can be made of metal or wood and are opened and closed from inside the house but cover the outside of the window.
    – user44105
    Sep 30, 2015 at 15:54

7 Answers 7


They're not to everyone's taste. They roll up into a large box above the window -- either inside or outside. And they are more expensive than blinds. Maybe Europeans like them for the noise and privacy factor and that may not be as much of a concern here in the states. Having said that I have wished many times that I had them in my house. Favorite feature is that you can open them up just a little bit so that it has holes in it and you get some light and some breeze. But also very nice to just shut out the world outside and get a good nap in the middle of the afternoon!


We do have these shutters in the US. They are a bit different than those in Europe (I saw them too when I was visiting Germany). Roll shutters are very common in the coastal areas of Florida and referred to as 'Hurricane Shutters' although some people buy them for light control. In Florida they are tested to resist hurricane force winds and flying debris. They are available manually or electrically operated. If they are 'Miami-Dade Approved' they are certified for 180-190 MPH winds. If you do an internet search for 'roll shutters' you will be overwhelmed with information. Check the images as well. In hurricane country we have several other protective options other than roll shutters. I chose to have 'impact windows' installed in my house. They also meet the wind and impact requirements. The impact glass is a laminate rather like a car windshield but much thicker (5/16-7/16" thick). Neither roll shutters nor impact windows are cheap but compared to the damage a hurricane can do, they are good insurance.


We have window screens in the US vs Shutters. Most shutters in the US are decorative unless they are those security or storm/hurricane type. There are interior shutters but are usually pretty expensive. People usually go with horizontal blinds or vertical blinds or just cloth curtains....or sometimes roll down cloth shades (some room darkening some not)


Pella company makes windows with blinds between the glass and I'm sure they're very expensive. I've heard it said many times that generally speaking Europeans expect a higher quality house while Americans prefer affordability.


In Netherland they're often used because of the extra security protection they provide. At first I didn't want them but now I don't want to go without. Not just for the security and sound insulation but the windows are protected from high winds and keep them clean during rainstorms. My energy bill went down 35% after installing them. They also have small vent holes so you can have them partially open without it being visible on the outside. The advantage to that is you can sleep with the window open and it lets the wind blow through but your home is still protected from intruders.


Travel around the US There are sunshades on almost every window in Nevada or places that with lots of sun. There are Bermuda awnings, hurricane roller shades, plantation shutters that actually close over the window. exterior curtain fabrics in canvas and sheers and sun shades. However, in the cooler States....why would you want to make the inside of your home any darker especially in the winter. Look around...plenty of good exterior window treatments!


They are not used because they usually violate building codes. It makes it difficult for firefighters to get in through a window in case of an emergency.

  • 1
    What code is violated? Where does it say access must be easy? The only requirement I know is egress from sleeping rooms...
    – Lee Sam
    Nov 7, 2018 at 23:02
  • The blind are not rock solid shut, it can be push out of the rail easily by an adult or remove easily by a firefighter
    – mootmoot
    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:16

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