New Data Shows that Fabric Awnings & Exterior Shades Can Help Homeowners Reduce Cooling Costs by More than 50%
• Save money through reduced cooling bills
• Increase comfort by reducing home’s internal temperature
• Potentially reduce size of and mechanical wear on the home AC unit
High Temperatures, Rising Energy Costs & Tight Budgets Shine Light on Awning Benefits
Everyone knows that awnings provide shade for homes. But record hot temperatures this past summer, rising energy costs and tighter household budgets are bringing to light the tangible role awnings and solar shades can play in efforts to reduce energy expenses.
A new energy study funded by The Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA), shows that fabric awnings or exterior shades can save homeowners as much as $200 annually by reducing the load on air conditioners (depending on where a home is located). The study, released this week, calculates the impact of awnings in 50 cities across the United States.
The study focused on older homes that are typically smaller and less insulated than newer construction. Resulting data supports awnings and solar shades as “smart” retrofits to help make older homes more energy efficient.
For example, the study showed that awnings on a home with single or double glazed windows in Pittsburgh, PA can reduce cooling energy 46-50% in a hot year compared to the same house without awnings. Correlating cost savings can range from $81 to $102. In a hot city like Phoenix, AZ the net savings was $193 in a typical year.
“The sun’s rays through glass are responsible for almost 20% of the load on your air conditioner,” says Michelle Sahlin, Managing Director of PAMA. “Awnings reduce direct solar gain through windows.”
The study incorporated information about weather and energy costs, and included a number of variations (cities, shade designs and fabrics). The amount of cooling energy saved varies depending on the number of windows, type of glass in the windows, window orientation and regional climate.
Here is some information direct from the Energy.gov site talking about Energy Savings on Awnings and Mesh Window Screen. For more information Energy.gov
Window awnings can reduce 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.
In the past, most awnings were made of metal or canvas, which need to be re-covered every five to seven years. Today, awnings are made from synthetic fabrics such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates that are water-repellent and treated to resist mildew and fading. Whatever the fabric, you should choose one that is opaque and tightly woven. A light-colored awning will reflect more sunlight.
Awnings require ventilation to keep hot air from becoming trapped around the window. Grommets (eyelets) or other openings along the tops and sides of an awning can provide ventilation. The awning may also open to the sides or top to vent hot air.
You can roll up adjustable or retractable awnings in the winter to let the sun warm the house. New hardware, such as lateral arms, makes the rolling up process quite easy.
MESH WINDOW SCREENS
Mesh window screens can diffuse solar radiation, reducing heat gain in the summer. Screens should be mounted in an exterior frame and should cover entire windows. They are particularly effective on east- and west-facing windows.