A window awning is typically a piece of canvas or cloth which protrudes above a window by way of a frame which is fixed to the building. The canvas is then stretched over this frame, which is usually made of aluminium, wood or steel. The purpose of these awnings varies but generally they provide shade, shelter from strong winds or a cover from rain or other precipitation.
Window awnings are recommended by the Consumer Energy Center as they can really help to cool your home in the hot summer months. This then saves on the amount of energy used by powering other devices to cool your home, such as air conditioning or mechanical fans. It is said that approximately 40 per cent of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home on a hot day comes from your windows. Imagine the difference that installing window awnings could have on that figure! It has been stated that awnings can reduce the temperature in your home by up to 20 degrees on a hot sunny day.
To achieve the maximum benefit from your awning you should choose a lightly colored fabric. This then not only shades your window but actively reflects the sunlight away from the window. The installation of the awning ensures that it extends outwards and downwards over the upper part of the window and casting a shadow over the lower part, ensuring you can still see out through the window and that light is still able to enter, but not direct sunlight which is where the unwanted heat comes from.
For those who live in climates which can vary between being hot in the summer and cold in the winter, retractable awnings are the best investment. This means that you can get the maximum benefit of their cooling capabilities in the hot months but are not suffering for the same reason in the summer. There is little point reducing your cooling bills only to increase your heating bills in the process! Retractable awnings pull out in a similar way to a standard blind, allowing them to be stored away neatly when they are not required.
Although awnings are not cheap to buy, you can reduce the cost by opting for self installation kits. These are readily available on the internet and are easy to install. The cost of this is significantly less as you do not have to pay for labor costs associated with the installation. Full instructions are provided and make them a more affordable investment for many.