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Will Exterior Awnings Make my Home More Energy Efficient?

Posted: Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 | Filed under: Home cooling, Uncategorized, window shading, window treatments
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Energy Saving Ideas

Energy Saving Ideas

Most people understand that energy efficiency equals budgetary efficiency, and so we see a growing number homeowners who are looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient.  One way to introduce energy efficiency into your home without the need for any major construction is to add awnings to the exteriors of your home that have significant window spaces.  You may ask why people seek out homes with large windows if they want to be energy efficient, and the answer is that the windows can be very efficient, as long as the homeowner has the proper shading systems to control the amount of light that enters the home.  In cooler months sun streaming through large windows can help heat the home, and in the summertime, strategic shading over those same windows can help cool the home.  And that is where awnings come in.


In fact, in 2012, the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA) did a study that showed fabric awnings could save homeowners up to 50% on their warm weather energy bills by reducing the air conditioning load in hot weather months.  Also, the US Governments Department of Energy advises window awnings for “reducing solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows.  You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom made to shade the entire side of your house.”   So, you can indeed have your windows and keep your home cool too.


What Type of Awning Do My Windows Need?

There are basically three types of awnings that you can look at for helping shield your home from the heat of the sun.


1.  Fabric Awnings

2.  Retractable Awnings

3.  Stationary Awnings


1.  Fabric Awnings are the types of awnings that you typically see over a store window.  They use a lightweight frame to keep them up, and other than the support structure of the frame, are basically held in place by the building itself.  These types of awnings are usually left in place year round, and provide shade, but do not allow a homeowner any control over the light that is coming in (or not) to the room windows that they cover.


They mainly make sense for homes where the weather is consistently hot year round.  If you are putting in awnings because you want to create a more energy efficient environment, then this type of awning is likely not to be as helpful as a retractable awning would be.  Studies have shown that “using awnings only during the cool season produces the largest net energy savings.”


Some of the advantages of a fixed awning is that they are built to be sturdy and long lasting, and they provide full weather protection.  However, they are also most ideal for smaller windows and doors and because they cannot be closed for protection they can require more maintenance than retractable awnings.



2.  Retractable Awnings are much more popular as they give homeowners much more flexibility on the level of light (or lack thereof) that they want to bring into any room.  Not only have they benefitted from the many advances in technology of recent years (i.e., user friendly electronic control pads) but they have also made great use of ecologically friendly textiles like solar friendly fabrics and lighter weaves that allow for shading over an area without stifling any breezes or air circulation.


3.  Stationary Awnings are shading systems that are put into place by structures other than your home.  For example, awnings that are used to cover poolside or deck top pergolas are stationary awnings.  So are cabanas, and awnings custom designed for custom bump outs on your home.  While stationary awnings are not directly attached to your residence, the shade they can provide against your home, can also add to home heating and cooling efficiency.




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