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Sometimes you feel like some sun, sometimes you don’t

Some days, there’s nothing more vitalizing than the sun’s warmth. Other days, cooling shade energizes with relief from the heat.

More than just a matter of personal comfort, research shows that managing the use of sun and shade can have a significant impact on a building’s energy efficiency.

Awnings with high-tech sensors and controls are making it easier than ever for homeowners to optimize these benefits.

When temperatures rise, solar gain – or the interior warmth generated by sunshine through windows – requires cooling systems to work harder. On hot days, shading windows with awnings can reduce cooling energy consumption by 25% or more, according to the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota.

However, when it’s cold outside, solar gain reduces a home’s demand for heat. Allowing the sun to shine through on colder days can substantially reduce heating energy consumption.

The widespread use of sensing and control devices in commercial applications has driven product development and mass production. Now these technologies are accessible to the average homeowner.

By applying shade control technologies, the greatest benefit to homeowners is the potential to reduce heating and cooling bills, which account for 56% of energy consumed, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“By managing solar gain – extending awnings when shade is beneficial, and retracting when not – homeowners can significantly reduce energy consumption, while improving home comfort,” says Michelle Sahlin, Managing Director of the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA).