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Summer has finally arrived in the UK and that for most that means finding a beer garden and some shade.

When it comes to procuring a solar shading system for our buildings, we’re certainly not short of choice. But, with all the options and variations available to us, there’s often a lot to think about before finding the most suitable solution. For example, the location of the building, the shading requirements and the purpose of the building can all factor into our decision.

The location of the building for example may affect the type of material or the finish that we would recommend you use; buildings near the coast must have treatments or finishes suitable for a marine environment, but you can always check the specifics of this with a member of our team.

Orientation

The easiest place to start when designing solar shading systems is by considering the orientation of the building, as this will play arguably the most important role in establishing what type of device is required.

  • North-facing façades: only receive sunlight in early morning or late evenings
  • South-facing façades: will receive the most sunlight (especially during the winter period when the sun is at a low angle)
  • West/East-facing façades: will only receive half a day of sunlight

Understanding the orientation will affect the level of shading required. West and East facing façades will require more careful planning because the trick is to provide the necessary shade at the appropriate times without completely blocking the natural sunlight.

Internal or External Devices?

External shading devices such as canopies, building envelopes, awnings and louvres are best for controlling overheating as they can prevent solar energy from entering the building. These devices can be highly beneficial in environments such as office buildings and schools where there are already higher internal heat gains from IT equipment.

These types of systems can drive down the necessity of running mechanical cooling systems at an intense level, which will add to the building’s carbon footprint and energy costs.

Although, the drawback is that they may require more maintenance than internal and mid-pane systems. And it can also be a trickier feat to access glazing units if they need cleaning or changing.

Another factor to bear in mind is the structural performance of the external device, for example the effect of strong winds especially on high rise buildings. 

There’s a simple solution to this, procure a robust device along with a good fixing system. This is where good quality products really come in to their own, as cheaper alternatives will simply cost more in the long run when they cannot stand the test of time.

Internal shading devices can be simpler and easier to maintain, but they can restrict airflow and create noise if there's a breeze entering the building.

We've just scratched the surface with this topic, and so if you need more specific and in depth advice, get in touch with us. 

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