Abundant sunshine, beautiful views, and a comfortable space to enjoy the weather without being subjected to it: what’s not to love about a sunroom? Although you may have your doubts, sunrooms are perfect in any weather: they really do bring you the best of both worlds and may turn out to be your favorite home investment.
However, if sunrooms aren’t designed and constructed properly, they can be more of a money pit than anything. That’s why it’s important that your sunroom isn’t just an ordinary sunroom, but an “eco sunroom.” Here’s a look at how to have the sunroom of your dreams without killing yourself on heating and cooling bills every month:
- Double or triple window panes: If you’re constructing a new sunroom or remodeling an existing one, it can be tempting to skimp on arguably the most important feature of the room – the windows. Single-paned windows are inexpensive and might look attractive when price is taken into consideration. But while single-paned windows are affordable, they’re not efficient – so they’ll cost you money in heating and cooling over time. Instead of single-paned windows, spring for the more efficient double-paned or even triple-paned windows. The more panes, the better it is for keeping cold air in the room in the summer and warm air in the room in the winter.
- Window coating: There’s more to windows than just how many panes and how well insulated they are. For sunrooms, windows should also be coated, or glazed, with thin layers of metal. Why? Because it helps minimize the effect of the sun’s rays, which can fade furniture. These coatings aren’t visible to the naked eye and also help to brighten up your sunroom.
- Plants: Sunrooms are conducive to plant growth, so they are ideal locations for growing year-round. But did you also know that plants are good for air quality and health? It’s true – plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the photosynthesis process, therefore acting as somewhat of an air filter to refresh the air in a room. Plants are also proven to reduce fatigue and stress. So how many do you need in your sunroom? For air purification purposes, place one large plant or two smaller plants for every 100 square feet or so of your room.
- Location: In real estate, they say that location is everything. The same can be said for the location of your sunroom in relation to where the sun rises and sets. Specifically, it’s said that if you want to maximize the energy efficiency of the sunroom, it’s best that it is constructed so that it’s facing south to take advantage of the static solar collection. However, a sunroom facing either 30 degrees to the east or west will also suffice for this purpose. Furthermore, a south-facing sunroom should have windows that are south-facing, as east and west-facing windows can present unwanted issues. However, if windows must be installed that are either east or west facing, it’s better to have them facing east than west. That’s because the sun rises in the east and its rays are generally weaker than the strong afternoon rays that are present in the later hours of the day.
- Shading and ventilation: Another tip for maximizing energy efficiency is to include shades or blinds on your sunroom windows to help keep the room cool in the summer months. Ventilation can also come in handy during the winter months. For instance, it’s possible to install vents at the top of your sunroom that work to circulate air throughout the rest of the home. This can come in handy in the winter time, as your home can be heated naturally from the sun of your sunroom, which can help keep heating bills a little bit more under control.
Don’t let yourself go without the wonderful addition of a sunroom just because the potential heating and cooling problems intimidate you. By creating an eco-friendly environment you can enjoy in any weather, you’re adding value to your home and helping to save your wallet. With all of that extra cash, what will be next — connecting the room to a beautiful patio?