What direction does your house face? If it faces the south or west, you will get lots of sunlight. While this is certainly a good thing, all that sunlight can make your home unbearably hot during summer.
Window Protection from the Sun
Awnings are a must if you have a south, west or east facing home. Homes that face the north do not receive much sunlight, but they too need protection from rain.
Awnings not only provide shade and comfort. They also reduce your summer cooling bills. Properly installed awnings over your south or west facing windows will reduce the heat levels inside your house. In fact, studies have shown that awnings can reduce the temperature inside the house by about 20 degrees on a very hot summer day.
Most of the heat inside your house gets in through your windows. If there is no shade in the south or west of your home, your cooling bills will go through the roof. While planting trees and bushes in these areas are certainly effective, this may not be possible in all cases. In this case, the best possible solution is to install awnings over your windows.
Awnings keep your home cooler by preventing sunlight from entering it. You can install them over a window or over an entire side of the house. If awnings are properly installed, they can reduce heat gain by around 65% on a south facing window and by around 77% on west and east facing windows.
Choose light-coloured awnings because they serve two purposes. They will block sunlight. They will also reflect it. This makes them excellent cooling devices. Awnings need ventilation. Otherwise, hot air can get trapped under them. While installing, make sure that there are openings along the sides or tops of the awning. This will provide ventilation.
If cold winters are a big problem in your area, you should choose retractable awnings. You can roll them out when the weather is hot. And during those cold winter months, when you want the available sunlight to enter your home, you can roll them back.
Proper installation of the awnings will enhance the visual appeal of your home. They should be mounted at an angle of around 45 degrees. The awnings should not project into a path that receives foot traffic. If it does, then it has to be at least seven feet above the ground.
The drop of the awning is determined by the location of the window. If it is installed on a west or east facing window, it should cover about 65-75% of the window to block sunlight effectively. On a south-facing window, the awning should cover about 45-55% of the window to create the same cooling effect.
The biggest disadvantage of awnings is that they will block view from the windows. Retractable awnings can solve this problem to a great extent.
Awnings made from a variety of materials are available now. Metal awnings are more durable than fabric awnings. Awnings made from acrylic or polyvinyl laminates can resist mildew and fading. They are also water repellent.