Everyone knows that awnings and external shades provide visual interest and shade for homes, but they can also provide significant energy savings especially during the hot, summer months. Rising energy costs and tighter household budgets are bringing to light how this one-time investment can play a significant role in reducing energy consumption and expenses.
A 2012 study funded by the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA), shows that fabric awnings or exterior shades can save homeowners as much as $200 annually on their cooling costs.
“Homeowners often ask how well awnings and roller screens will help to cool their home and make them more comfortable. So PAMA initiated this study to develop credible information about the performance of window shading, as we work to educate home owners and the industry,” says John Gant, PAMA’ s Energy Committee Chairman. “This research uses complex computer simulations for a wide range of variables to generate predictions of the energy conservation.”
The study incorporated information about weather and energy costs, and included a number of variations including location, shade design and fabric. Energy savings varied depending on the number of windows, type of glass in the windows, window orientation and regional climate. The study focused mainly on older homes that are typically smaller and less insulated than newer construction with results supporting awnings and solar shades as “smart” retrofits to help make these older homes more energy efficient.