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New ways to save energy at home; Step-by-step insulating shutters

The home of Dennis Kline in Emmaus, Pa., is somewhat warmer this winter because of several attractive wall hangings that double as window shutters each night.

Mr. Knile, who works in the research and development division of Rodale Press (Organic Gardening magazine), was assigned a project several months ago to develop a window shutter that effectively cut heat loss, was attractive, not cumbersome, and which could be readily made at home by the magazine's readers.

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What Mr. Kline came up with, after a little thought, some trial, and "very little error," to quote an impressed colleague, was a shutter that met every requirement. In addition it was relatively inexpensive -- $1.50 a square foot using store-bought materials at October 1979 prices.

The Kline shutter tests out with an R (resistance to heat transfer) value of between 4 and 5. That means the shutter will reduce the heat that normally escapes through the window by around 80 percent.

The percent behind the shutter's success is a sheathing product called Thermoply, put out by Simplex Industries of Adrian, Mich. This high-density 1/4 -inch-thick cardboard with an aluminum foil skin is used principally by the construction industry as an insulation cum vapor barrier on walks. As such it is ideally suited for rigid shutters. Other similar products are also available.

This is how Mr. Kline makes his shutters: Using 3/4 inch strapping or similar wood strips, he makes a rectangular wooden frame (see illustration) that fits snugly inside the window. Next he staples a sheet of thermoply to each side of the frame. The shutter is now composed of two layers of the insulating material , complete with vapor barrier, with a dead-air space between. In effect, the shutter is now complete except that it doesn't look particularly attractive.

To counter this, Mr. Kline covers the shutters with colored burlap (orange on the example I saw). Next he pastes a silhouette -- a tree, flower, or animal or human figure -- cut from contrasting material, to the fabric on the interior- facing side of the shutter. The end result: an attractive picture which hangs on walls during the day and goes into the window frames at night.

A similar Thermoply window shutter, developed by Charlie Wing of the Cornerstones Energy Group, now is available in kit form (around $2 a square foot). The Sunsaver, as it is called, differs from Mr. Kline's concept in that it is hinged to the window frame. For the name of distributors in your area, write Cornerstones, 54 Cumberland Street, Brunswick, Maine 04011.


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