External shading can prevent damaging rays, heat and glare from entering your home so you stay cool and comfortable all summer.
As the season heats up, keeping your home cool becomes a top priority. Interior window coverings help greatly, but the real key to passive-cooling success is adequate external shading, says architect Stephen Guthrie, co-director at Bark Design Architects. “It’s better to tackle heat and glare before it hits your home,” he says. “By doing so, you prevent heat being transferred inside.”
Exterior awnings, venetians, roller blinds and shutters all block heat and glare and allow you to choose the level of shading to suit your home and climate. External roller blinds offer good flexibility and performance, says Pino Alessi, managing director at architectural window furnishings firm Alessi Design Group. “External roller blinds will prevent 50 to 60 per cent of heat from entering your home, while exterior venetians can block up to 85 per cent. Venetians cost about 25 per cent more than roller blinds, but you will reap the savings in power bills down the track.”
Shutters are another option worth considering, says Bryce Hedditch, director at Sonnenschutz, which makes a range of shades and shutters that are suitable for bushfire-prone areas. “Traditional casement shutters are typically used where a heritage look is desired, but sliding shutters are becoming popular for their architectural aesthetic,” he says.
An awning has the power to bring your home beautifully to life, says Tony Cassar, managing director for Victory Curtains and Blinds. “It will soften and add depth to the facade of your home. And Australian-made awnings are second to none because they’re manufactured specifically for our conditions.”
Awnings are becoming smarter, too. “Sensor-enabled designs can extend out as the sun moves and retract when it’s cloudy,” says Cassar. “More importantly, in high winds they will retract automatically to avoid damage. The latest app technology also allows you to operate your awnings from anywhere.”
If you’ve invested in good outdoor furniture it’s wise to protect it with an awning, retractable roof or shade sail. Retractable roofs are ideal for protecting large areas from sun and rain (Helioscreen’s All Seasons design provides coverage for up to 100m2), while awnings can be better suited to balconies and courtyards (Markilux’s cassette awnings can span up to 7m with a 4.3m projection; Luxaflex Window Fashion’s retractable awnings offer great flexibility with crank or motorised operation, integrated rain hoods, wind-protection systems and sun and wind sensors).
When it comes to trends, sleek and fuss-free is the order of the day. Markilux’s slimline awnings disappear into a neat cassette when not in use.
The Ventura terrace awning and Nisse folding-arm awning from Luxaflex are both perfect choices for narrow terraces and balconies. If you want to create shade yet preserve your view, take a look at the eZIP mesh range from Victory Blinds. An alternative to traditional awnings, these products have a neat side retention system that helps keep insects out, too.
Today’s blinds and awnings are designed with minimal maintenance in mind. Luxaflex offers a range of dirtdefying fabrics for both inside and out, so you can spend more time enjoying the shaded areas of your home and less time looking after them.
Earlier this year, Markilux launched a colour-matching service that allows you to have your awnings the same colour as your home’s exterior. “We dye our fabrics in-house, which enables this level of colour precision,” says Kieran Keen, head of marketing for Markilux. “This means your awning has the potential to be a great feature of your home.”
‘Good external shading can result in your home being several degrees cooler inside, and prolong the life of your furniture and flooring.’ Tony Cassar, Victory Curtains and Blinds
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT This cheerful awning is controlled by a Somfy Orea RTS motor with an Eolis RTS wind sensor. A Coolaroo shade sail in Charcoal weatherproof cloth from Bunnings. A Sydney home by Tobias Partners features custom shutters with a steel frame and staggered teak battens. A Markilux folding-arm awning provides flexible shading and retracts neatly into its wall-mounted cassette when not required. OPPOSITE Bark Design worked deep, protective eaves into the design of this Queensland beach house.