Today Tammy asks:

Diva, I’m perplexed. I have decided that I want either cellular shades or woven wood shades. The problem is I don’t understand the benefits of one vs the another? I’m leaning towards woven wood because that is the one I’ve heard is more eco friendly, is that true?

When it comes to deciding between two styles of anything, I think the best approach is to break each category down and look at the features each one offers. In this instance, using this method will work well in helping you to see why someone would opt for each type of eco friendly shade.

So here’s what you need to know about cellular shades. First of all, they’re one of the best types of shades for energy efficiency. This means that from an eco friendly standpoint, they help conserve energy. This is not an instantaneous event, however. Cellular shades do this over time by helping to reduce your heating or cooling costs. It’s also important to mention that most cellular shades are not made of “green” materials like you’ll find with the eco friendly woven wood shades. When it comes to cellular shades though, you can look for the GREENGUARD label to find blinds that emit low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Recently I spent some time at the GREENGUARD website and discovered out of what I consider the three top window treatment companies out there, only one of them has a variety of products that are GREENGUARD certified. That brand happens to be Hunter Douglas. So if you want to conserve energy as well as save money on your heating and cooling costs, and you want an eco friendly shade that emit’s low VOCs, I’d suggest going with one of Hunter Douglas’s cellular shades. One last important fact about cellular shades is that they’re not all created equally and do not all conserve the same amount of energy. How good each shade is will depend on the fabric type and cell size.

Eco Friendly Woven Wood Shades

Now another product you’ll find GREENGUARD ratings on are woven wood shades from Hunter Douglas. Here you get to combine the low VOC ratings with actual eco friendly materials. When it comes to eco friendly woven wood shades though, it’s important to know that most woven wood shades are made from renewable resources like grass, bamboo, jute and wood. And at risk of sounding like a broken record here, they’re not all created equally — remember this.  The more eco friendly versions of these shades will be made from a grass or bamboo because those materials have a faster growth period. Bamboo for example, has a maturity timeline of only 3-7 years. While wood is still considered a renewable resource it has a slower growth period, at roughly 30-70 years.

Most people believe that woven wood shades are more eco friendly than cellular shades, but I think it just depends on what factors you are considering to be the most important. If helping to insulate your windows over time and reducing energy loss is more important than the materials themselves to you, then I’d go with cellular shades. However if you are more concerned about the material and the manufacturing process instead, then woven wood shades are just the ticket for you.  Just make sure you aren’t forgetting your style preference in this virtual debate. Why? Because even the “eco friendliest” shades in the world may or may not work with your own particular design style. While it boils down to what features you need, what your own personal style and what’s important to you still matter!

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe(diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog.

Written by Amanda Hartley