Consider Blackout Curtains to Save Energy and Control Light and Noise

By: Josh Peterson, Planet Green  | 
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Key Takeaways

  • People historically used blackout curtains for light concealment during WWII. Now they help in energy conservation by blocking up to 99 percent of light and reducing thermal energy loss through windows by 25 percent.
  • These curtains also block about 40 percent of noise, making them useful for individuals who need to sleep during the day or live in noisy environments.
  • Despite the benefits of blackout curtains, consumers should be cautious about curtains made with vinyl, which can pose health risks. Consider non-vinyl alternatives, which are available at various price points.

Blackout curtains were used in Britain during World War Two to hide interior light from Nazi planes. If a Nazi pilot saw light coming from a building, the pilot was likely to bomb that structure. WWII is long over, but blackout curtains have a variety of other uses, including saving you money on heating bills.

The 3 Main Functions of Blackout Curtains


Blackout curtains have three main functions: Block light, block noise, reduce energy costs.

1.Blackout Curtains Block Light

Some brands of blackout curtains claim to block up to 99% of light. People who work at night can suffer from health problems due to their unusual sleep habits. Blackout curtains can create the ambiance of night and help reduce those health problems. The curtains can benefit those living in northern cities where the sun may be out for twenty or more hours a day. Blackout curtains can also be used to create complete darkness for your home theater system.

2.Blackout Curtains Block Noise

Eclipse Curtains claim that their curtains can block 40% of noise. This factor might also come in handy if you work during the day.

3.Blackout Curtains Save Energy

Blackout curtains can trap heat in during the winter and keep light and heat out during the summer. 10-25% of thermal energy loss goes out the windows. Blackout curtains can curtail this loss by a 25%, reducing your utility bills and greenhouse gases.

How Much Do Blackout Curtains Cost and Where Can I Get Them? High-end blackout curtains can be expensive, somewhere in the $100+ area. However, you can find blackout curtains for less than twenty dollars. You can buy blackout curtains at almost any major retailer. For example, Walmart sells the Eclipse brand that was mentioned earlier. Make Your Own Blackout Curtains According to Green Living Tips—a great site and one of the places I found a lot of info about blackout curtains—you can make your own blackout curtains out of your current curtains. Here's how: From Green Living Tips: If you're handy with a sewing machine you can also save a bit of money by converting your current curtains - just add the blackout liners which you can buy from a haberdashery store. As there's varying quality in blackout liners, be sure to hold samples up to a strong light before purchasing to ensure it works sufficiently. What About Blackout Shades and Blinds? These two window coverings work similarly to blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are often favored for larger windows. Shades and blinds are a good way to cover smaller windows. Depending on the brand, blackout shades are comparable in benefits to blackout curtains. Blinds aren't as advantageous in the heating and cooling department, but blinds do give you the advantage to control the light that enters the room. They are great for a photographer or any artist that works with varying shades of light. How to Hang Blackout Curtains Most blackout curtains are hung like regular curtains. The fabric at the top needs to be situated properly so that it blocks light. Make sure the rod gives the curtain ample space to cover the sides of the window. Is There a Dark Side to Blackout Curtains? Some companies make their blackout curtains with vinyl, a material that has health risks associated with it. There are plenty of non-vinyl curtains to choose from, so be sure to avoid PVC in your blackout curtains.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are blackout curtains effective in all climate zones?
Yes, blackout curtains are effective in all climates as they can block heat from entering in hot climates and retain heat in cold climates, enhancing your home's overall energy efficiency.
Can you use blackout curtains in rooms other than bedrooms?
Absolutely, you can use blackout curtains in any room, including home theaters and photography studios, to control light and improve insulation.