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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.

vintage-style-awning
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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  1. Lauryn 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. Ed says:

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

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