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Awning Energy Savings

Retractable Deck and Patio Awnings Save Energy and Cut Energy Costs

According to a study conducted by the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers, solar radiation through glass is responsible for approximately 20% of the load on an air conditioner. Outside shade products like awnings prevent the solar radiation from penetrating through the glass and substantially increase energy saved when compared to film and tinted glass alternatives. According to the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers, a fabric awning reduces heat gain by 55-65% during the period of the day when the sun shines directly on southern facing windows/glass doors. For western exposure, the reduction in heat gain is 72-77%. That's a substantial savings, both in energy usage and costs.

Equal Window Orientation
(This chart shows the savings when the majority of windows face the South side. Considerable savings were also achieved on the East and West majority exposures.)
City Percent of Cooling Energy Saved Percent of Peak Cooling Energy Saved
Minneapolis 28–34% 5–22%
Boston 24–33% 22–36%
Seattle 71–80% 44–53%
Albuquerque 28–33% 9–19%
Phoenix 15–22% 3–11%
St. Louis 8–18% 17–30%
Sacramento 40–45% 10–26%
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A study, released in August 2007, found that awnings can provide significant savings on cooling costs and on peak electrical demand by reducing solar gain through home windows/glass doors. The study, Awnings in Residential Buildings: The Impact on Energy Use and Peak Demand, was funded by the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA) and conducted by the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota.

In the first phase of the study, awning impacts were measured in seven U.S. cities across various climates, including, Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Albuquerque, Phoenix, St. Louis and Sacramento. The study revealed that in all cities for all window/glass doors orientations tested, there are significant energy savings in cooling costs and peak electricity demand as a result of using awnings. The range of energy saved varies, depending on the number of windows/glass doors, types of glass in the windows and window orientation. The table above shows the savings with the majority of the windows/glass doors facing the South side. View the full results by city and by window orientation below.

Summary of Awning Impacts in Seven US Cities

In the study conducted by the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota, researchers used a specialized computer program to investigate variables in conjunction with a standard awning with sides. The variables included geographic location, window orientation, and exposure, winter and summer usage, and window type.

East Window Orientation
(A majority of windows are located on the east side of this home.)
City Percent of Cooling Energy Saved Percent of Peak Cooling Energy Saved
Minneapolis 29–31% 22–23%
Boston 30–32% 28–37%
Seattle 51–69% 23%
Albuquerque 34–39% 12–27%
Phoenix 15–22% 4–6%
St. Louis 18–21% 13–23%
Sacramento 36–39% 9–13%
West Window Orientation
(A majority of windows are located on the west side of this home.)
City Percent of Cooling Energy Saved Percent of Peak Cooling Energy Saved
Minneapolis 26–27% 25–32%
Boston 28–30% 33–40%
Seattle 69–72% 43–49%
Albuquerque 34–39% 35–43%
Phoenix 18–26% 20–31%
St. Louis 18–23% 20–33%
Sacramento 43–48% 30–39%

Awnings not only save money for home owners but also contribute to a reduction in demand for energy, thus directly reducing the impact of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Michelle Sahlin, Managing Director of PAMA: "When numerous homeowners reduce their need for energy, there is less demand for energy at the times of peak usage, resulting in overall savings to utility companies and the public from a decreased need to supply generating capacity."

The energy savings benefit of retractable awnings extends beyond the summer season. The ability to retract the awnings in the winter (as opposed to fixed roof structures) allows the solar radiation to penetrate through the windows/glass doors, contributing to the heating of the house and reducing heating costs and energy.

In Europe, retractable awnings have been used for many years to significantly reduce air-conditioning use in the summer. In the US, the demand for retractable awnings has grown significantly in the last decade and is expected to continue and grow as energy costs soar and as the awareness for the negative impacts of global warming increases.

In the first phase of the study, awning impacts were measured in seven U.S. cities across various climates, including, Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Albuquerque, Phoenix, St. Louis and Sacramento. The study revealed that in all cities for all window/glass doors orientations tested, there are significant energy savings in cooling costs and peak electricity demand as a result of using awnings. The range of energy saved varies, depending on the number of windows/glass doors, types of glass in the windows and window orientation. The table above shows the savings with the majority of the windows/glass doors facing the South side.

References

1. "Awnings in Residential Buildings - The impact on Energy Use and Peak Demand" by John Carmody and Kerry Haglund, Center for Sustainable Building Research, University of Minnesota and Yu Joe Huang, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, August 2007.

2. The Professional Awning Manufacturers Association websites, Roseville, Minnesota, February 2008

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