With so many types of window treatments available, including awnings, shades, storms, and shutters, it's hard to know which one is right. GreenSpec can help.
Awnings are a traditional way to control solar heat gain in the American South. Blocking gain is more effective than dealing with the heat after it comes into the building. However, awnings aren't the best product for every window in every climate.
Most window attachments are chosen with aesthetics in mind--probably in part because picking the right awnings, shades, shutters and other attachments for their performance characteristics hasn't been simple in the past.
In collaboration with BuildingGreen, publishers of GreenSpec, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) has been doing modeling, field-testing, and lab testing to develop standards for window treatment performance. Different types have different strengths, including glare control, thermal performance, and even security, so choosing a particular window attachment depends on your priorities. While performance is likely to be the foremost concern for most people, some products use materials with environmental health and safety concerns.