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Community and Q&A

Exterior patio shade worth it on west facing glazing?

wbwg | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I’m a homeowner that’s been lurking on this website for a while now. I live in Phoenix and have a home with numerous energy efficiency and heat gain issues that I’m determined to address over time. One of the big ones is the oft complained about orientation of the home so the majority of the glazing is facing east/west. The previous homeowners did do a few things to address this, strategic tree placement so the time any given window (on the first floor at least) has a full blast of sun is limited. Additionally, all east, west, and south facing glazing has solar screens with the exception of glass doors, which have tinted windows. During this time I’ve also become obsessed with light so I’ve started to remove the solar screens from our main family room during the winter. These windows face west and have a deep patio over them. There is also a line of trees from the neighbors yard that starts providing some shade as the sun reaches its lowest and most direct angle onto these windows. However, during the summer there is some time, a relatively short percentage when considering the whole day, where the sun hits this wall of windows directly and can provide an obnoxious glare into the room, even with the solar screen. We were thinking instead of adding window coverings that have been missing from these the whole time, we should first instead invest in solar screens for the edge of the patio that will be dropped during the final part of the day when the sun drops below the coverage of the patio.

I figure there are two advantages 1) a patio drop shade would be lowered only during the hours when the sun hits this area directly. So they wouldn’t unnecessarily rob the home of natural light the rest of the day when the sun isn’t shining directly on the western face of the house. 2) It removes the obnoxious glare during that annoying hour or so when the sun shines right through the window as a window covering would, but of course keeps the heat outside, rather than inside.

However, after getting a quote on this type of patio drop shade I’m worried I’m going to end up spending a lot of money on something with little functional benefit as I ended up doing when we added tint to a few windows. 1) Will I accidentally be making the situation worse by opting for the drop shade over continuous solar screens because the reflected light from the “cool decking” and pool all day may present a significant heat gain that will now be hitting the windows without impedance? Or 2) Because these windows already have a patio helpling most of the day, and trees helping a bit at the end, the exterior solar screen will have little benefit and I should just get window coverings to deal with any glare issues, and also keep the solar screens off the rest of the day for the same reason?

Picture attached.

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  1. mgensler | | #1

    Maybe try hanging a blanket and see how that works?
    We installed motorized exterior solar shades on our west facing glass. They work really well in blocking the heat and we can still see out of them a bit. They have guide wires that go all the way down but you still have to be careful if they are down and it's really windy.

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