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Awnings can lower summer air contitioning costs

Awnings on the west side of a house on a hot summer afternoon can save a lot of energy because they decrease the amount of heat coming into the home by 77 percent.

Adding awnings, shutters and sun screens to the windows that the sun beats on all day can save residents huge bucks on their power bill.

When the outdoor temperature is soaring, just looking out a window can make a person sweat. Install an awning, and it will reduce the amount of heat that comes through that too-warm window by up to 77 percent.

Likewise, a homeowner can substantially subdue the sizzle on a backyard patio by shading the whole thing with a durable, fabric awning that blocks harmful UV sunrays and transforms an outdoor living space into the pleasant, comfortable oasis it was built to be.

There's no need to put awnings, shutters or sun screens on every window of a home, however. Indeed, most homeowners install their permanent shading devices only on windows where the sun is most punishing-and that's not necessarily on the home's south side, which is typically the warmest.

The U.S. Department of Energy says homeowners can reduce solar heat gain on the hottest days by up to 65 percent on south-facing windows and 77 percent on west-facing windows by covering them up.

Nick Tatton, community director for Price, recommends homeowners shop around for options that preserve the view to the outdoors while preventing the sun's heat from beating onto the windows.

"Everything from tinted glass to operating shutters will do the trick," says Tatton.

Price City is a public power community, providing electricity to residents on a non-profit basis.

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