WincovER is the world’s first energy rating scheme for window coverings, and it's very necessary in a market with plenty of conflicting information.

This is a super-duper 10 star rating system, trademarked in Australia. It will aim to assist consumers understand the relative energy performance of a range of window coverings.

Currently, the system refers to roller blinds, verticals, venetians, honeycomb shades, shutters (both internal and external) and straight drop awnings. Further testing is being done to include roman blinds, curtains and folding arm awnings in the near future.

This scheme does not calculate the dollars saved on thermal benefits of the various products. Rather it compares products via a comparative system so that consumers can upgrade their homes with more energy efficient window coverings with confidence.

The stars will be red for heating and blue for cooling, much like the existing energy star rating for electrical appliances. Future marketing to launch this system will include product labelling, a WincovER certificate suitable for the end user, continuing relevant information on their chosen product, and benefits for the retailer to be future-proofed for government regulations on energy efficiency in the home.

Taking this a step further, the retailer will have all the correct information about the energy efficiency of each product without having to second guess or try to convince sometimes sceptical customers. If a product does not perform, it will be given a lower star rating.

Such a system should drive out inferior products from the marketplace over time, where excessive and often untrue claims have been made as to their performance. The system will also make it imperative for the retailer to be trained appropriately so that they are imparting the correct information about the scheme and the performance of varying window coverings.

Such an initiative is long overdue, particularly in the Australian marketplace, where extreme temperatures and high UV ratings directly impact on the quality of energy efficiency in the home. In the past, many homes have been simply left without window treatments, or at the very least with hopelessly inadequate coverings that make very little difference. Energy costs are comparatively high compared to other parts of the world, and almost nothing has been done to address this with practical window coverings. The current Basix system makes little or no mention of window coverings, even though energy efficiency is the main issue addressed by this system.

The WincovER system will hopefully force governments at all levels to seriously consider window coverings as having a major role in the overall energy efficiency of a home. Indeed, new homes being built should in the future include the WincovER rating system so that purchasers are compelled to install the best window coverings they can afford in order to lower their carbon footprint. It is simply not good enough that air conditioning is virtually a given in all new builds when the correct window coverings can have a dramatic effect on the heating and cooling coefficients in the home.