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New Data Shows that Fabric Awnings & Exterior Shades Can Help Homeowners Reduce Cooling Costs by More than 50%

Sweeping 50-city study proves awnings are a smart retrofit to reduce home energy consumption

  • Save money through reduced cooling bills
  • Increase comfort by reducing home’s internal temperature
  • Potentially reduce size of and mechanical wear on the home AC unit

“People don’t realize that there are more eco-friendly ways to stay cool.” says Byron Yonce, MFC, chairman of PAMA. “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.”

High Temperatures, Rising Energy Costs & Tight Budgets Shine Light on Awning Benefits

Everyone knows that awnings provide shade for homes. But record hot temperatures this past summer, rising energy costs and tighter household budgets are bringing to light the tangible role awnings and solar shades can play in efforts to reduce energy expenses.

A new energy study funded by The Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA), shows that fabric awnings or exterior shades can save homeowners as much as $200 annually by reducing the load on air conditioners (depending on where a home is located). The study, released this week, calculates the impact of awnings in 50 cities across the United States.

“The significance of this type of energy savings extends beyond reduced home expenses,” said Joe Huang, president of White Box Technology, who conducted the study. “When numerous homeowners in a community reduce their energy use, there is less demand for energy during peak usage, resulting in overall savings to utility companies and the public.”

The study focused on older homes that are typically smaller and less insulated than newer construction. Resulting data supports awnings and solar shades as “smart” retrofits to help make older homes more energy efficient.

For example, the study showed that awnings on a home with single or double glazed windows in Pittsburgh, PA can reduce cooling energy 46-50% in a hot year compared to the same house without awnings. Correlating cost savings can range from $81 to $102. In a hot city like Phoenix, AZ the net savings was $193 in a typical year.

“The sun’s rays through glass are responsible for almost 20% of the load on your air conditioner,” says Michelle Sahlin, Managing Director of PAMA. “Awnings reduce direct solar gain through windows.”

The study incorporated information about weather and energy costs, and included a number of variations (cities, shade designs and fabrics). The amount of cooling energy saved varies depending on the number of windows, type of glass in the windows, window orientation and regional climate.

“Homeowners often ask how well awnings and roller screens will help to cool their home and make them more comfortable. So PAMA initiated this study to develop credible information about the performance of window shading, as we work to educate home owners and the industry,” says John Gant, PAMA’ s Energy Committee Chairman. “This research uses complex computer simulations for a wide range of variables to generate predictions of the energy conservation.”

The study in its entirety is now available.