Source: This Old House | Repost Fadely 6/28/2021 –
We value windows for their transparency, the way their panes let in light and give us a view of the outdoors. But those panes of glass are also transparent to heat, as anyone who’s stepped into a greenhouse on a sunny day can attest. In winter, we relish the way incoming sunlight warms our bodies and surroundings. It’s a different story in summer, when the solar heat streaming through windows—particularly those on the south- and west-facing sides of a house—turns rooms into saunas. Here are some ways to halt that heat gain and be more comfortable when temperatures soar:
Consider solar shades. These light-blocking, polyester-coated mesh screens can be installed inside or out, either as fixed panels or with retractable roll-up mechanisms. They come with different mesh counts; the higher the count, the more heat is kept out, but that also means the room will be darker and the view more obscured. Available in black or white, black is best for outside installation. White stays cooler, so it’s preferable for indoor use.
Install awnings. This old-fashioned and effective strategy for shading windows deserves another look. According to the Department of Energy, awnings can reduce solar heat gain by 65 percent on south-facing windows and 77 percent on ones facing west. With the latest sun- and mildew-resistant fabrics like Sunbrella, and motorized rollers like those from Sunair, awnings are easier to operate and require less maintenance than ever.