Solar screens fit over your existing windows to help block UV rays and reduce the amount of heat coming into your home. They are typically made of a mesh material in varying levels of "blockage" ranging from 70 - 90% and come in both fixed and roll-up versions. In some ways, these screens act similar to the "glare film" you may have seen at hardware stores, but with significant advantages - and a far better look.
As you might imagine, solar screens appear to be far more common in hot, sunny areas like Texas and Arizona as compared to Cincinnati. Yet that doesn't mean we can't benefit from their use. While the main goal for homeowners in those more sunny areas is to reflect heat and reduce AC usage, some of these screens are meant to be "flipped" in the wintertime so that they act as solar heat collectors. Some of the advantages that are routinely touted by vendors include:
- Achieves energy savings between 30 and 40% in both summer and winter
- Reduces sunlight damage/fading of indoor furnishings and artwork
- Provides privacy without losing outdoor views
- Reduces or eliminates air leakage through windows
There are many valid reasons for replacing old windows, but buying them simply for energy-efficiency should probably not be your primary driver. That, however, I leave as a discussion for another day....
Check these vendors to see some of the many options available for solar screens: