We discover a new one-stop source for 44 different styles of window awnings

midcentury-style-awningsWhat’s the best way to cut your air conditioning bill? How about: Keep your house from heating up in the first place. A good old fashioned way to help: Install window awnings. We’ve talked before about the energy benefits and history of window awnings, and we researched 12 places to buy them. Today we have another source to add to the list — General Awnings — which offers 44 different options of window awnings made of aluminum, fabric and steel gathered into one online store, making it even easier to assess the various styles, features and price points. That’s one of their awnings, above.

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Photo copyright General Awnings, LLC

We received the tip about this relatively new to the market company via reader Populux, who purchased the Vista style awning (shown above) in ivory for her midcentury home.

vintage-style-awnings

Photo copyright General Awnings, LLC

According to the company’s website, General Awnings was founded by a Colorado custom home builder with many years of experience, who saw the need to think about practical ways to reduce a home’s consumption of energy. General Awnings has a huge selection of aluminum and cloth awnings for doors, windows, patios and more, plus they offer free shipping. From the company’s impressive lineup of awning styles, several are appropriate for midcentury homes and most are available in several solid or striped color ways.

vintage-house-makeover-before-after

Scott added new awnings to his midcentury modest house — they look great!

From the General Awnings website:

Why use awnings?

  • Window and door awnings reduce your consumption of energy by keeping your home cooler during the summer months
  • Window awnings will prolong the life of your furniture and flooring by protecting them from direct sunlight
  • Porch and patio covers will prevent premature deterioration of your exterior doorways, keep your porch or patio cooler during the summer, and save energy by decreasing absorption of heat by the walls of your house
  • Awnings increase the value of your home by enhancing curb appeal and adding beautiful accents
  • A set of simple awnings, when correctly installed, will noticeably reduce your energy bills

Reduce Your Home’s Energy Consumption

A study by the University of Minnesota and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) initiated by the Professional Awnings Manufacturers Association (PAMA) (www.awningstoday.com) reports that awnings save energy on air-conditioning. Another benefit is that awnings also reduce maximum electricity demand, which potentially results in lowered mechanical equipment costs. The study showed that savings of cooling energy from awnings vary from 10% to 69% and peak electricity demand is reduced by 15% to 49%, depending on the location. This makes your awnings an investment that will save you money year after year.

Studies conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) show that window awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65% when installed on the south side and up to 77% when installed on the west side of the building.

Depending on the climate you live in and how much your home is shaded by trees, awnings could make a significant difference in your summer energy bills at the same time they add some retro curb appeal to your home. For those who have midcentury homes already fitted with awnings, we encourage you to think twice before deciding to remove them. Awnings made our list of the top 10 most endangered features of midcentury homes back in 2012, but with all this data backing up the impact awnings can have on your summer utility bills, you have to admit that adding our thrifty parents and grandparents knew what they were doing when they added awnings to their homes.

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Comments

  1. AtomicHipster says

    Hi Pam,

    I have canvas awnings on my home dating back to 1985. I didn’t even install my bedroom air conditioner this year!! Awnings make a HUGE difference in helping to keep the interior cool in summer. It also means I can leave my windows open all summer so I can hear the birds and feel breezes inside, another bonus rarely mentioned.

    John

  2. midmichigan says

    Very cool awnings. The scalloped edge style like Scott installed except in white were popular in the early to mid-sixties in my neck of the woods. I remember having to wash them off from a ladder just about every year because they got dirty, mostly from our trees.

  3. says

    Nice. You don’t see awnings too often. Its like people have forgotten them. I like all of the color, pattern, and awning styles available at this website. I think those are all real important points to have with something regarding a house. Also, adding extra insulation to your house can really help keep it warm in the winter, cool in the summer too. I’m in Alaska and typically people add an extra 2-4″.

    • Linda says

      I live in Fresno Calif., in the Central part of the State. Our summers are very hot and dry, up to 110. Most houses here have awnings, including mine.

  4. Mary Elizabeth says

    Love the look of these. the second photo looks like the front porch of the cape my parents bought when I was in college.

    I did find, however, when I moved into my 1959 ranch that I didn’t need awnings. The traditional ranch roof overhangs keep the direct sun out when it is high in the sky (summer) and let it in when the sun travels low in the sky (winter).

    I think the house did have a wrought iron rail on the front porch with an awning over it, as in the photo. However, before we bought it, the owners had installed a larger porch with a peaked roof, so no more cute awning.

    • says

      A lot of houses from the 30s and 40s and probably the early 50s (often referred to as minimal traditional houses) lacked that kind of overhang (it was a cost saving device, coming out of the Depression and during the WWII years) and so there is NO shade coming unless you are blessed with mature shade trees. It seems to me there was a less of a need for awnings in homes built before and after that period, hence their popularity in mid-century homes.

  5. Barbara says

    We did take the awning off our front door because it was directing the rain poorly and the steps deteriorated. I’m thinking about them for the back of the house which faces due west and is HOT on a summer afternoon.

  6. SebastianFTL says

    OK. I admit it. There is one retro thing I can’t love…it’s these aluminum awnings. Sorry. There is a Philly legend that the reason there are so many aluminum/fiberglass awnings in South Philadelphia (where I was raised) is because Jackie O put them on the White House. If fans of Jackie couldn’t afford Balenciaga & trips to Paris they could afford these awnings. I feel they are seasonal. That’s why I prefer the canvas ones. Also, why do Americans not use their shutters? In France & Italy the shutters are used and louvered to let in the right amount of air & light at the right amount of day. So yeah, my biggest pet peeve is that brown awning with the brown stationary shutters. The first pic seems to have working shutters & awnings — that’s OK too — but I still think you have to have one or the other…

    • CarolK says

      It was on Houzz, IIRC, that we had a discussion about shutters vs awnings. I like both (and, yep, even aluminum ones on the right house), but I must admit I’m completely buffaloed by non-working shutters. Who ever thought that was a good idea? If you have shutters, they should be functional, complete with shutter dogs.

    • says

      I agree that decorative shutters AND an awning are kind of an odd combination. That’s why the awnings make sense on Scott’s house, where shutters would look silly (never mind that there is no room for them). I have been researching this topic for the last several years (when we lost a magnificent shade tree) and it is SO hard to find functional shutters (which make so much sense!!), so we became more interested in awnings.

      We eventually decided to install cellular shades to help with our heating and cooling costs. While they may not be period specific and not quite as effective as awnings or shutters (whose distinct advantage is that they keep the sun from ever even hitting the glass) they were far more affordable for us and give us the option of letting as much sunlight in in the winter. Still, I do find the awnings charming and often have “awning envy” when I see a home with original awnings in great shape!

    • kristine says

      Sebastian:
      Here in the USA, shutters are not functional, only decorative.
      Im sure functioning Shutters may be purchased, however I personally, have NEVER seen them on homes newer than approx. 150 yrs. old.

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        I grew up in a house that is now 100 years old, and the shutters were merely decorative–they did not latch and the louvers didn’t move. In addition, the old wooden shutters that were on my 1959 “coolonial” ranch were left in the basement when they put up the vinyl ones, and they didn’t have any latching hardware, so those had been decorative also. I think that the reason for shutters on midcentury capes and ranches was that they were going for the “Early American” style, not the early American lifestyle. Case in point–television and stereo cabinets in colonial style in maple or pine. 🙂

    • Ed says

      In theory, I agree that shutters should be functional, and probably not combined with awnings. However,that brown combo just looks *right*.

  7. JKM says

    My grandparents had a large aluminum awning along the side of their covered patio (about 8′ wide) and, growing up, I couldn’t figure out why it was there. There was plenty of shade plus and it really didn’t go with the style of their mid-1950s house. I’d always assumed it was for privacy until mentioning it to my parents one day and they reminded me that there weren’t any trees when the house was new and the awning shaded the patio from the hot afternoon Texas sun. That was the west side of the patio and it must have cooked before all the trees grew – duh! They’re not just good for shading windows!

  8. says

    Thanks for the article but I still haven’t found the company that makes the awnings on my house. All the windows except the kitchen have them. I love them, I live in Florida and it helps keep it cooler inside and they are great for hurricanes. Just put down the awning and your done. No plywood…

  9. Joe Felice says

    Here in Colorado, one is able to get through the summer without air conditioning simply by utilizing measures that keep the house cool. For this reason, awnings are popular, although some are grotesquely u*** [edited]. I wish they had visited the sites you feature. And they are not an option if you live in an HOA. Evaporative (“swamp”) coolers are also immensely popular here where there is low humidity, and those operate at a fraction of the cost of A/C. Again, no luck if you’re in an HOA. There are only about a handful of days each summer when A/C is actually required, but those seem to be increasing in number. Both the summers and the winters are warmer here than they used to be.

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