Energy Savings with Awnings

Awnings are the Earth Friendly Way to Cool Your Home

Awnings improve aesthetic appeal and are tremendously effective in moderating the inside temperature of your home.

Awnings today offer great energy saving benefits. In a typical home, more energy is lost through glass doors and windows than through any other construction element. In fact, on a hot day, more energy comes through one square foot of glass than through an entire insulated wall. Outside shade products like awnings prevent the solar radiation from penetrating through the glass and substantially increase energy saved when compared to film and tinted glass alternatives.

Awnings on windows and patio doors can reduce inside temperatures by as much as 8-15 degrees, depending on the exposure of the window, the color of the fabric and the style and method of attaching the awning.


A home with retractable sun screen sides for additional protection to their living space


 Example of a retractable awning with additional sun screens

portland awning

A fabric awning reduces heat gain by 55-65%* during the period of the day when the sun shines directly on southern facing windows. For western exposure, the reduction in heat gain is 72-77%.

Tips to Maximize Your Energy Savings

When selecting awnings and fabrics for a home or business there are several factors to consider that will affect your energy savings:


  • Select a style that will accommodate how much the sun penetrates the windows.
  • Southern and western exposures have the potential for extreme heat gain and awning sides may be needed for additional protection.
  • Northern and eastern facing windows require less coverage.
  • Seasons make a difference: In order to take advantage of the suns warmth during the winter, some awnings are designed to roll up out of the way and others removed and put away.


  • Color choice and types of material are important energy-saving considerations.
  • Awnings with low solar-absorbing surfaces (white) maintain temperatures closer to the outdoor air temperature. As a result, air temperature under the awnings isn’t raised appreciably.
  • Awnings that absorb solar radiation (dark colors) may need venting to reduce heat build-up underneath the awning.

For More Information:
Awning Energy Study: Full Report (PDF file)

*Study by the Center for Sustainable Building Research, University of Minnesota

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