Cool Your Home and Outdoor Spaces with Awnings

Solar power — By Stephanie on August 10, 2010 at 5:15 am
foldaway Cool Your Home and Outdoor Spaces with Awnings

Retractable awnings provide effective cooling during summer months

When I was growing up, we had a very large backyard – it was probably bigger than the interior of our single-level 1950s era rambler.  Not only was there a lot of grass, but a very huge patio.  And then there was the large canvas awning.  At the time I cursed its existence because it shaded so much of the backyard and didn’t help my suntan.  But turns out it was perfect to help cool our home and outdoor spaces!

Awnings have been used for thousands of years to provide shade for market stalls and dwellings.  Ancient Egyptian and Syrian civilizations used woven mats propped up on poles to help keep cool in the hot summer sun.

In the 21st century, solar coverings still can help minimize cooling costs and provide a shady place under which to enjoy the long summer days.  Awnings usually extend out from windows and help cool the side on the house on which they are located.  Its a classic passive solar trick – minimize solar heat gain in the home and your A/C won’t have to work as hard.

These days, you can choose between a motorized or non-motorized retractable awning (at my home it was not retractable at all!).  Additional features may include an infrared heating system, or patio lighting.

No matter what you choose to help cool your home and outdoor spaces, be sure that your awning is properly positioned.  You’ll want to keep track of the sun’s position from noon to dusk.  If you want to install an awning that will face east or west, you might get hit with a low-sun angle.

Ask a professional to help you plan the idea awning, including positioning for your individual needs.  Then get out and enjoy the summer weather!

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1 Comment

  1. Emily says:

    Yes! Thanks for posting this article. There is so much advice out there about being green. A lot of that advice revolves around innovation – which is great. What people forget is that people have been naturally staying cool and recycling for centuries. I work for an eco development company working on our first Panama real estate project, an island property called Isla Palenque. One of the methods we are implementing into the residences, is natural shading. The architects have carefully designed every roof line to provide cool shade and catch the breeze. One of our architects, Manya, wrote a really cool blog post about natural sun shade, here is the link: http://islapalenque.com/blog/2010/06/from-hi-tech-to-isla-palenque-sunshade/

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