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Awnings and Louvers

I managed to find some research done by some folks over at the University of Minnesota about awnings. In 12 different cities, they set up several houses with either no awnings (the control house), summertime awnings, and awnings the year round with different fabrics. The study strongly suggested that an awning is invaluable during the summer, but actually increases heating costs in the winter if left deployed (kind of obvious, actually). What's nice is that there are numbers, and one of the cities they have data for is Washington, DC. In addition to this, I looked up some awning prices. For a standard 4' wide with 4' projection window awning, the prices range from about $100-160. I also looked up some deck-sized awnings which range between $1500-2500 depending on the size, if there is a motor, and if there are sun/wind/rain sensors.

One other type of design I looked at was louvers, though it's not entirely shading. It's like a window that blocks the sun, in that it is used to improve airflow but to keep the sun out (as well as rain and dirt of course). Again, a louver can be great in the kind of climate where there is a breeze to be taken advantage of, but don't provide much in the way of insulation.

As a final thought, the DOE Solar Decathlon main page now lists the event to be between October 12-20, which could mean the event would be rather cold. In this case, I'd imagine that the only type of shading we would want would be cellular shades, as they reduce heat flow. But, as always, it is up to the team to decide.

- KP

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