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Retractable Awnings: An Insider's Guide

Sep 10, 2008
Retractable awnings still aren't a household phrase, but when it comes to the benefits they provide, some are more obvious than others. Obvious: If you've seen awnings suspended from businesses or houses, you immediately catch on to the fact that they create shade, transforming a sauna-like space on a pavement, deck, balcony, patio, or poolside into a relaxed, multi-use area. Less obvious: more money in your bank account, enhanced home interiors, novel outdoor environments, and a vivid, creative aesthetic. This article breaks down four of the "insider" benefits that retractable awnings provide, highlighting the reasons that they're attracting a growing consumer base.

First, retractable awnings actually save you money.

This happens via the energy savings that result when you install awnings strategically above over-heated windows (typically on the east, west and south sides of a building). Research funded by the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association demonstrates that awnings have the ability to lower inside temperatures by up to 15 degrees, cutting air conditioning use by anywhere from 25 to 33 percent. Hard to believe? Not when you take into account the fact that awnings cut direct glare from sunlight by 94 percent. The variables in the equation are the utility rates and climates in your region. These numbers are supported by statistics from the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers. The bottom line is considerable money saved on energy costs, increased resale values, and an investment that more than pays for itself over the course of a couple summers.

Second, retractable awnings add a more open, spacious atmosphere to the interior of your home.

This might seem to run counter to logic, but follow me. Do you ever find yourself yanking down the blinds to cool down rooms that feel more like a desert than an oasis? Are there rooms in your house that you avoid during the hottest times of the day? If so, installing awnings on the exterior of your home will directly affect the interior by controlling the blistering sunlight and taming its rays to create a cooler, filtered environment inside. That results in a more open, hospitable vibe because you won't need to pull the blinds. You'll be using the sunlight on your terms instead of being a solar slave.

Third, retractable awnings result in exciting new atmospheres.

I haven't talked up the "retractable" aspect of this awning explanation so far, so let me mention it here. It comes into play when you consider the various ways a single outdoor space can be used. Awnings that can be raised ("retracted") and lowered at the push of a button allow property owners to exploit the advantages of all kinds of weather short of a violent storm. Have you ever chatted over coffee while rain fell around (but not on) you? Ever stretched out for a morning tan, then converted your patio to a shady refuge for the afternoon? Ever taken your time over an outdoor meal on a summer night--and then, at the push of a button---watched the stars appear above you as the sun went down? Awnings with the instantaneous flexibility of the retractable models give you opportunities to enjoy outdoor experiences you probably haven't encountered before, especially on your own property.

Finally, retractable awnings add a creative vibe to your residence.

If you're a Do It Yourself type, you'll understand this part right away. Awnings are manufactured in a wide variety of colors, sizes and patterns, and add instant curb appeal to a home or business. A flexible architectural element, they can be adapted for any type of building or color scheme. Pioneering home owners are finding ways to extend the existing interior styles of their houses into the outdoors by coordinating colors and motifs. Since awnings cost less than any "permanent" architectural addition, they're cost effective and painless to install.

So there you have it. Awnings are definitely good for shade, but there are plenty of other reasons that home and business owners are increasingly starting to invest in awnings.
About the Author
AJ Vanderhorst writes about how to create landscapes with retractable awnings . A world of bright aesthetics and cool, flexible, outdoor living awaits your discovery. Explore contemporary awnings at Retractable Awnings .
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