Want to Cut Energy Costs? An Awning is the Perfect Solution
January 1, 2019
To block the harsh rays of the sun, you wear sunglasses, flip down the visor in your car and, on the most sweltering days of summer, maybe even prop a sun visor on your windshield.
Blocking the sun pays instant dividends by cooling things down—and, by extension, saving energy, too.
It stands to reason, then, that awnings perform the same function. But if you’re leaning toward installing an awning on your home or place of business, you probably want more than common-sense reasoning to support your quest to save money on your energy bill. Some third-party authentication would probably help, too. You can count on The New Dorchester Awning Company to provide it—and not from only one source, but three.
First, Size Up a Window
Appreciating the shielding effects of an awning requires an understanding of what it is shielding in the first place: a window. A window is just one component in what is known as the building’s “envelope.” The other components are the roof, walls, subfloor, and doors.
Of these components, the most energy is lost through glass doors and windows. In fact, on a hot day, more energy seeps through one square foot of glass than through an entire insulated wall.
Installing an Awning Reduces Heat Gain
To reduce heat gain—and cut down on glare—some people install tinted glass or window film. But these methods are inferior to awnings, which “substantially increase energy saved over the film and tinted glass alternatives,” according to the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers.
In fact, studies by this group show that when the sun shines directly on southern facing windows, a fabric awning reduces heat gain by 55 to 65 percent. On western-facing windows, the reduction in heat gain ranges from 72 to 77 percent. With savings like these, any homeowner or business owner can quickly recoup the cost of purchasing and installing an awning.
Installing an Awning Cuts Energy Bills
A study by The Professional Awning Manufacturers Association shows that fabric awnings or exterior shades can save building owners as much as $200 a year by reducing the load on air conditioners. The industry leader conducted the study in 50 cities across the United States, including Boston.
In fact, in nine northeastern cities, including Boston, awnings were shown to cut energy costs by 25 percent during years with average temperatures and by 23 percent during years with hot temperatures.
“While turning up the air conditioner results in higher energy bills, awnings and shades work with the air conditioner to keep your home cooler and reduce the need for additional energy,” said Byron Yonce, chairman of the association.
Installing an Awning Helps in Winter, Too
As you might expect, the U.S. Department of Energy advocates the installation of energy-efficient windows to reduce energy costs while also realizing that for many homeowners and business owners, this transition constitutes a major investment.
As an intermediate step, the department recommends installing caulk, weather stripping, and awnings to enhance the efficiency of existing windows. It also notes that significant improvements have been made to awnings to enhance their appeal.
“In the past, most awnings were made of metal or canvas, which need to be re-covered every five to seven years,” the department says. “Today, awnings are made from synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates that are water-repellent and treated to resist mildew and fading. Whatever the fabric, you should choose one that is opaque and tightly woven. A light-colored awning will reflect more sunlight.”
The department also extols the virtues of adjustable or retractable awnings, which can warm a house or office in the winter.
“New hardware, such as lateral arms, makes the rolling up process quite easy,” the department notes.
To learn firsthand how installing an awning can save you money every month on your energy bill, call The New Dorchester Awning Company for a consultation.