Awning Fabrics Make Quantum Leaps in Performance and Styling

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Perfect Storm Brewing for Residential Awning Resurgence

The other factor that favors growth in residential awnings is a quantum leap in awning fabric performance and styling

Could a perfect storm be brewing for a resurgence in residential awnings? Consumer awareness of the dangers of UV exposure have never been higher; everyone would like to save on energy bills; and the incredible popularity of spending time outdoors is reflected in decks, patios and outdoor rooms on millions of American homes.

So, where do awnings fit into this picture? Awnings block the majority of damaging UV rays without blocking the view; significant energy savings are achieved when awnings prevent heat gain inside the home; and awnings allow you to enjoy your deck, patio or outdoor room no matter the weather.

"The other factor that favors growth in residential awnings is a quantum leap in awning fabric performance and styling," said Doug Dubay, awning market manager for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, the makers of Sunbrella® brand awning fabrics. "There have been high-performing, stylish awning fabrics for many years, but styling and performance have improved geometrically during recent months."

Energy conservation and the resulting cost savings are leading factors adding to consumer interest in awnings. A recent study by the University of Minnesota illustrated that awnings made of Sunbrella fabrics reduce home cooling energy consumption by 10 - to 60 percent and peak cooling loads by as much as 40 percent, depending on geographic location. Cooling requires less energy because the awning's shade prevents the sun's heat from entering the home through windows.

In terms of the durability and performance features of awnings, Glen Raven has introduced a "Next Generation" version of its industry leading Sunbrella awning fabrics. These highly-engineered textile offerings provide a 25 percent increase in water repellency with no loss of breathability. The new fabrics are so durable that Glen Raven has doubled the Sunbrella awning fabrics warranty period from five years to 10.

At the same time, Glen Raven has given its awning fabrics line a makeover by offering an expanded array of colors and stripes to meet the tastes of all consumers, from the traditional to the contemporary. One of the most important new styling directions for awning fabrics is the addition of texture that creates an entirely new look and feel.

"Texture does amazing things for awning fabrics, resulting in new color effects and adding an entirely new dimension of visual interest when viewed from beneath the awning," said Gina Wicker, Glen Raven design and creative director. "We follow an integrated approach to our design of awning fabrics so that they complement cushion fabrics on outdoor furniture and can also be used to create a seamless transition to inside the home."

A wide array of awning structures is available to display the new generation of awning fabrics to their greatest aesthetic and functional advantage. Fabric roller shades have been incorporated into pergolas, and homeowners with an artistic flare enjoy free form sun sails for a dramatic, sculpture-like effect.

While fixed awning frames are the mainstay of residential applications, retractable awnings - which can open and close at the touch of a button - are attracting a new generation of awning aficionados who relish the flexibility. It is also easier for homeowners to learn more about awnings and locate an awning resource through Web sites such as http://www.outdoorspaces.com which includes a nationwide dealer directory.

"Shading has come into its own today," Dubay said. "When consumers learn about the benefits of awnings, see the beautiful new fabrics and learn how carefree awnings have become, they are ready to bring more shade into their lives."

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Mark Brock

Amanda Williams
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