Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fabric Awnings Boost Energy Efficiency in the Absence of Shade Trees

Excerpted from HousingZone:

Fabric awnings and canopies can be an energy-saving addition to sustainable landscape design.

Homeowners seeking more sustainable, energy-efficient homes, and where location, climate or existing hardscape prevent the planting of trees, shrubs and vines, or around newer buildings with less mature plants, might want to consider fabric awnings and canopies as an energy-saving addition to sustainable landscape design.

When added above windows and doors, awnings can significantly reduce home cooling energy use. "Energy efficiency is really the number-one concern with green or sustainable buildings, and awnings can directly affect energy use by simply blocking the sun," according to John Carmody, Director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota. "Heat gain through the windows is one of the main reasons why buildings need air conditioners. We found that awnings make quite a difference in the cooling energy equation. In some climates you can save 20 to 25 percent of your cooling energy just by using awnings."

Awnings and canopies add style, functionality and sustainability to hardscapes, and are more economical to build and maintain than comparable masonry and wood structures. From a conservation landscaping perspective, awnings placed on or near a home can significantly reduce energy consumption for cooling.

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