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Awnings do more than adorn businesses and homes. They can define the building, become a recognized symbol that customers recognize and provide style to otherwise ordinary structures. They can complement the building’s décor, provide shade for those standing or seated underneath and reduce energy bills.

Their use goes back to ancient Greece; they were used to shade patrons at the coliseum. Marketplaces used them to shade produce and allow customers a place to sit while they purchased drinks and food for the road. Rulers used them when standing outside to address the public. No matter where they have been used or what shape or materials were used in manufacturing, they have kept people cooler for centuries.

In today’s homes, awnings reduce energy bills by reducing or preventing the sun’s rays from entering the home and heating the inside air, called solar gain. The HVAC system does not have to work harder to keep the inside space cool, so it works less and the utility bill is lower. In the winter, they can be retracted or removed to allow the sun to augment the home’s heater, thus reducing heating costs.

Awnings also provide protection in inclement weather. People can seek shelter in front of a business and while waiting for the worst to pass, they notice the business, go inside and shop or order something to eat. Depending on the fabric used, an awning can also protect passersby, homeowners and guests from light hail. Most can be retracted, rolled up or removed for high winds or severe storms.

Patio awnings create outdoor dining and living spaces for a fraction of the cost of building a room. Most city building codes do not require special permits for awning installation. A variety of fabrics in solids, patterns and colors allows customers to create a personalized look for a home. Awnings can be emblazoned with business names and logos to help customers locate favorite restaurants and shops.

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