Elaborate outdoor structures make a big impact on a home’s landscape, but also on homeowners’ budgets. Instead, try a simple layer of fabric. Research shows that fabric awnings can have a positive impact on pocketbooks, along with big visual impact.
According to the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association, fabric awnings can save homeowners as much as $200 annually by reducing the load on air conditioners. A study of 50 cities performed during the summer of 2012 showed that savings in terms of real dollars. For example, homes with single- or double-glazed windows in Pittsburgh can reduce cooling energy up to 50% in a hot year, compared with the same house without awnings. Correlating cost savings can range from $81 to $102. In a hot city, such as Phoenix, the study found that the net savings was $193 in a typical year.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, window awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. Consider these details when helping your clients shop awnings that will maximize their energy savings:
Look for a tightly woven fabric that is water-repellant and treated to resist mildew and fading.Light-colored awnings will reflect more sunlight than darker shades.Choose awnings with grommets, eyelets, or other openings along the tops and sides to provide ventilation and avoid trapping hot air by windows and doors.Opt for a retractable awning that can be rolled up in the winter so sun can warm the house.
“The significance of this type of energy savings extends beyond reduced home expenses,” said Joe Huang, president of White Box Technology, which conducted the study. “When numerous homeowners in a community reduce their energy use, there is less demand for energy during peak usage, resulting in overall savings to utility companies and the public.”
New options are available to bring more awnings to the residential market. Outdoor furniture manufacturer Source Outdoor recently launched its Source Awnings division. Driven by customer demand, the division will produce a range of manual and motorized awnings, as well as specialty and custom shapes and sizes.
Solair Shade Solutions is also extending availability of awnings directly to construction professionals. “We look forward to introducing an alternative shade category to the industry that offers value to both builders and homeowners,” says Solair manager Rett Haigler. “By doing so, we hope to help them fulfill customer needs while growing their bottom line.”