“What I like about external louvres is the fact that they deflect or absorb over 90% of the sun’s energy before it enters the house thereby keeping the house at a comfortable temperature despite our more frequent heat waves. ” Sandy Hickey, Pride Road South Warwickshire.
As global warming is changing our weather patterns, and we are experiencing hotter summers in more highly glazed and lighter weight buildings (for example buildings made with plasterboard panels against lightweight block work, rather than directly plastered dense brick walls), we need to start applying some of the methods used in hotter countries, to cope with our more frequent heatwaves.
External wooden shutters have long been used in Mediterranean countries. The more modern solution that has been used in a commercial setting over the last 20 years are fixed, or tilting louvres. These have been developed to avoid using active cooling methods, such as air-conditioning. They are essential where large expanses of glass face east, or west, and therefore cannot be shaded from the high summer sun by an overhang or by surrounding buildings or vegetation.
Having met Paul Morris – proprietor of Solar Shield, who provide external shading solutions for domestic clients – at an exhibition, Sandy invited him to come and tell her more about his product.
Thanks to Paul’s company, the technical developments in external louvres are available to domestic clients.
Paul explained that they have been particularly useful for shading large gable windows facing west (images above from www.solar-shield.co.uk ). He has successfully solved overheating problems for a number of clients, while maintaining or enhancing the design ethos of the original buildings.
It can be a particularly relevant solution for existing buildings that are being extended or altered, where, for example, there is no choice in orientation.
You won’t be surprised to hear that Paul’s house is fully kitted out in tiltable external louvres. He operates them all from a single point in the house. At night, they provide security, and in the winter nights an element of insulation by trapping a layer of air on the outside of the windows.
In the summer they provide shading at appropriate times of the day by the use of a timed set up.
Paul and Sandy talked about the different sizes of Louvre, fixing points, methods of control, the dos and don’ts of how you design the rest of the building to ensure a smooth and satisfactory installation solution. They also spoke about the need for thought over space for stacking for the retractable louvres, and that they can only be retractable if the window is orthogonal. For gable windows the louvres can be tilted but not retracted off the window.
Control for the solar shades can also be integrated within a home automation system. There needs to be a conversation earlier on with a home automation expert and then the electrician.
It is therefore advisable to understand the potential for overheating at the beginning of your project, so that an appropriate solution can be found.
Solar Shield external shading solutions are a high-tech high-quality solution, and Pride Road Architects can help you incorporate it into your home renovations. We can also provide other ways of dealing with overheating, or best of all keeping a comfortable temperature in your home all year round by designing the appropriate solution – want to find out more?