Properly used, some types of shutters can block up to 90% of the solar heat and visible light, while not preventing the winter sun to enter the house. They can be an important way to reduce energy consumption.
Shutters are one of the most versatile and effective shading choices, and can be used simultaneously with curtains, awnings and other shading devices.
Some types of shutters can also be used for security purposes and storm protection.
Types of shutters
There are several types of shutters: Bahama shutters (hinged at the top of the window), sliding shutters (designed to slide horizontally), vertical rolling shutters...
Vertical rolling shutters are particularly popular in many parts of the world, though relatively uncommon in North America. Their top boxes can be attached to the walls, or hidden into the wall, at the top of the window; this last choice, though common, can contribute to air leakage and thermal bridging and energy-inefficiency. Be aware to it. That part of the wall and the box of the awning have to be properly sealed and insulated to avoid unwanted heat gains and losses, or moisture build-up.
Besides providing shade and light control, some types of shutters can be used for storm protection and security, namely vertical rolling shutters. Their design and the materials they are made from (aluminum, vinyl…) make them very effective at it.
Just pay attention to the materials. Aluminum, for instance, is highly thermal conductive, which makes aluminum shutters very inefficient, compromising their role as thermal protection devices.
Traditional rolling-up models have small holes in the horizontal slats, to allow small amounts of light into the room when necessary, but light control is mostly done by adjusting the height of the shutter in the window.
Typically, shutters require commitment of the users. Their effectiveness depends on how they are used and adjusted to the elements.
Prices vary widely, depending on the exact type of shutter and its size, or on features like the type of operation and materials. Anyway, though not exactly expensive, they are among the most expensive shading devices.
Alternatives to Shutters
More expensive shutters are a good choice if you want sun protection, light control, lower energy consumption, security and storm protection. Otherwise, there are cheaper choices.
Shutters are in direct competition with exterior blades and window awnings; and also with window films and solar screens – which can provide a more inexpensive alternative, namely in areas where shutters are uncommon.