If you have ever sat under a tree on a summer day, you should know the cooling effects of shade. The same shade can reduce your summer cooling bills if applied to your home. By simply installing awnings over your west and south facing windows, you can significantly reduce the heat levels inside your home.

South and West Window Awnings

Awnings Provide the Perfect Shade

Shading your house with interior and exterior shades can lower the temperature inside your home by as much as twenty degrees on a hot day. A great deal of the undesirable heat inside your home comes in through the windows. Homes that have several windows in the south and west will get a great deal of direct sunlight. If there are no shading devices over these windows, the heat levels inside the home can get unbearable. Exterior shades are more effective than interior shades in reducing the temperature inside your home.

Awnings are effective shading devices because of their ability to block direct sunlight even before it reaches your home. Awnings are usually made of metal or fabric. They are installed over the windows and extend outward.

Windows in the south and west receive a lot of sunlight compared to windows in the north. If the awning is properly, studies have shown that awnings can lower heat gain by about 65 percent on windows facing south and about 77 percent on east and west-facing windows.

Light-coloured awnings are better. They not only block sunlight, but also reflect it. Awnings need ventilation to prevent hot air from getting trapped around the windows. You have to maintain some gap between the side of the home and the top of the awning to vent any heat accumulated under the awning.

Retractable Awnings

If you live in an area that experience cold winters, you should consider installing retractable awnings. They will provide shade during the hot summer months. And when the weather is cold, you can retract them to let sunlight enter your home.

Awnings serve decorative purposes as well. By mounting them at an angle of about 45 degrees, you can make them visually attractive. If the awning projects into the path of foot traffic, it should be at least 7 feet from the ground.

The location of the window determines the amount of drop you will need. If the window is on the west or east side of your home, the awning should cover about 65 – 75 percent of the window to block the sunlight effectively. To generate the same amount of shade, an awning on the south side should cover only about 50 percent of the window. Otherwise, in either case, the awnings can block view from the window. Slatted awnings permit limited viewing. This will allow you to overcome this issue to a great extent.

You can use awnings to shade just one window. Alternatively, you can use custom-made awnings to shade an entire side of a house.

In addition to metal and canvas awnings, awnings are made from synthetic materials like polyvinyl laminates and acrylic are also available. They are water repellent; they also resist fading and mildew. Whatever be the fabric, the awning should be tightly woven and opaque.