Awning Efficiency

The Energy Efficiency and Benefits of Residential Awnings

By Annie Baker, University of Colorado Denver

In 2007, the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA) conducted a market research survey on Residential Awning Usage in the U.S. With the recent trend and push to “go green,” nine out of ten homeowners are now concerned about lowering energy costs for their home. Awnings on the home have proven to be one of the best solutions to this quandary. Awnings not only add decoration and originality to your home, but they significantly increase energy efficiency.

According to both the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning and the U.S. Department of Energy, ³ an awning can reduce heat gain by 55% to 65% on south-facing windows, and 72% to 77% on west-facing ones. Outdoor window and door shade products, such as awnings, reduce direct solar gain through home windows¹. This is important because solar radiation through glass is responsible for nearly 20% of the load on an air conditioner. If a homeowner installed a light colored fabric awning on the outside of the window rather than on the inside, 40% less solar heat would enter the home.¹

Kirk Douglas of Four Seasons Awning says, “Pull-up window awnings, retractable awnings, and even our seasonal patio covers are much more than just an awning. They are enhancing the aesthetics of your home, and increasing energy efficiency and saving you money in the long run.”

Because awning fabric doesn’t trap heat and moisture, it can reduce air conditioning costs by as much as 25%, and overall energy costs up to 10%. ² When awnings are used in conjunction with an air conditioner, they can reduce the amount of cooling energy used by homes by as much as 33%, depending on the climate.

The most remarkable benefit happens in a home without air conditioning. When awnings are located above windows and patio doors, they can reduce inside temperatures anywhere from 8 to 15 degrees in homes with no air conditioning. ¹ Such a difference makes a huge impact when the inside of a home is 70 degrees as opposed to 85 degrees on a hot summer day.

On a larger scale, when used collectively in a neighborhood, not only does the neighborhood benefit by the look and decoration the awning provides, but the collective reduction of energy usage reduces the overall demand on the energy infrastructure, and can help to prevent black outs. ¹

Given all of these energy saving and more importantly money saving facts and figures, it’s clear that the cost of installing awnings on the home is well worth it. Retractable awnings also give you the opportunity to create beautiful, unique spaces in your backyard, on your deck, or on your patio. The Association of Realtors’ “2007 Remodeling Cost vs. Value” report indicates that a deck addition, such as an awning, offers a nearly 77% return on investment. This is because adding an awning to a backyard creates a more comforting and attractive space to homebuyers.

Residential retractable awnings are a win/win for any homeowner. By adding just a small touch to the exterior of your home, you can reap many benefits that will last for years to come.

1. Professional Awning Manufacturers Organization (PAMA), Awnings in Residential Buildings: The Impact on Energy Use and Peak Demand, Version 2.0, August 2007; John Carmody, Kerry Haglund, Center for Sustainable Research, University of Minnesota. 2. European Solar Shading Organization (ESO-SO) Energy Efficient Cooling of Buildings, February 2008. 3. U.S. Department of Energy, Information: Passive Cooling.