Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is not visible to the human eye, but its damage is well known. Faded fabrics, carpets, photographs and artwork can result from windows that allow harsh UV rays into your home. Plain, untreated window glass will block a small amount of UV rays but additional window treatments can help block much more. UV-blocking window treatments not only help prevent damage, but they can also lower cooling costs.
Add solar shades to all interior east- and west-facing windows to block UV rays. Look for interior shade material that boasts a protection level of 90 percent or higher, absorbs heat and reduces glare. Make sure the shades are certified by the Greenguard Environmental Institute for protection against chemical emissions from the screen's material. Choose a shade that allows a view through the window while still protecting the home. For best results, buy the interior solar screen to fit inside the full opening of the window. Manufacturers offer a solar screen panel track system that opens horizontally for use on sliding glass doors and walls containing large expanses of glass.
Honeycomb shades, also called cellular shades, are a softer, visually pleasing choice for blocking UV rays in rooms where decor is important. Honeycomb shades will block as much UV light and heat as solar shades, and more in some cases. Honeycomb shades provide filtered light but not the ability to see through the window treatment. Manufacturers offer more color choices with honeycomb shades than with solar shades. Both solar shades and honeycomb shades can be found with a top-down or bottom-up option for opening and closing.
Apply a UV- and heat-blocking film on the window glass and then install the drapery treatment of your choice. Choose from insulating, glare-reducing or privacy film. Each type blocks UV rays and contains other benefits. Use insulating film to help keep heat from entering your home through the windows. Install glare-reducing film to prevent wash out of computer screens and televisions in entertainment rooms. Privacy film is frosted or mirrored to keep passers-by and neighbors from seeing into your home.