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Life Cycle Assessment

Window blinds save far more energy and carbon than is used to create them

Dr Deborah Andrews of London South Bank University has undertaken detailed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of four blind types to determine their passive and sustainable energy saving benefits in the domestic environment in the UK.

Key Finding

“…providing that the blind is recycled at end of life, the payback for life cycle greenhouse gas emissions is only 6 months but 3 years if it is not recycled.”

Further Detail

Although the number of homes in the UK has increased by 40% since 1970, overall energy use by this sector has only increased 16. This is because individual household energy use has fallen from 23,800 to 18,600 kWh per year, due to more efficient lighting, appliances, space and water heating systems, and insulation.

Living room and bedroom temperatures should be between 18 degrees 25 degrees Celsius to reduce risk of heart attack and strokes in older people and to avoid thermal stress and dehydration. Babies should sleep in rooms between 16 degrees and 20 degrees Celsius to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which has been linked to overheating.

Correct use of window coverings during the heating season can reduce energy consumption by at least 25% in the case of single glazed windows and by at least 15% in the case of double glazed windows.

Energy savings of 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%, were modelled in this simplified Life Cycle Assessment study to account for variation in the above criteria, which can be caused by inefficient use and to determine the point at which use of blinds becomes environmentally advantageous.

It was concluded that if blinds are used for at least 3 years and are recycled at end-of-life, their installation may reduce up to15% of energy consumption. However, if they are sent to landfill, the energy savings are reduced to 10% as long as they are used for at least 5 years.

In Austria a more simple carbon footprint study revealed that motorised external venetian blinds with a 20 year product life showed carbon savings (8.5 tonnes) were 57 times greater than the carbon embodied in the blind (150 kg). See more here.

Life Cycle Assessment
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