Awnings rate high because they block direct sunlight. Usually made of fabric or metal, they are attached above the window and extend outward and down. A properly installed awning can reduce heat gain in your home up to 65% on southern windows and as much as 77% on eastern and western windows.
A light-colored awning does double duty by also reflecting sunlight. Maintaining a gap between the top of the awning and the side of your house helps to vent any accumulated heat from under a solid surface awning.
Aesthetically, an awning mounted at an angle of 45 degrees is pleasing to the eye. Make sure the awning does not project into the path of foot traffic unless it is at least six feet eight inches from the ground.
The amount of drop you need — how far down the window an awning should come — depends on where the window is located. On the east or west side of the house, the awning needs a drop that covers 65 to 75 % of the window. Because of the higher angle of the sun, an awning on the south side needs to cover only 45 to 60 % of the window to produce the same amount of shade. In either case, awnings can block much of the view from a window. Slatted awnings allow limited viewing to help overcome this disadvantage.
Awnings are also a practical investment that can slash your energy bills, as well as protect your furniture, floors and carpets from the sun’s harsh sun rays.
In a typical building, more energy is lost through glass doors and windows than through any other construction element. While window films and tinted glass will reduce heat gain and glare, awnings accomplish the same purpose–and substantially boost energy savings. Studies by the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers reveal that when the sun shines directly on south-facing windows, fabric awnings reduce heat gain by 55 to 65 %. For western exposure, the reduction in heat gain is 72 to 77 %.