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Last edited 17 Jan 2021
Architects and interior designers have sometimes preferred interior dressings to shade rooms from the sun, however, another option is exterior screens or shutters. These systems are commonplace in mainland Europe, and the UK is now turning toward them due to EU legislation and the ecological benefits, plus the recognition that exterior shading can contribute to energy savings.
Exterior shading systems have often been overlooked because of the initial higher cost, the aesthetic appearance may not fit well with older design principles, or unfamiliarity by the architects and designers with alternative solutions. However, if function were the leading criterion for making the decision about how to control the harmful effects of the sun, exterior shading systems might be more common.
The advantage of an exterior shutters or screens is that they reflect and absorbs solar energy outside the house… before it hits the windows. They can absorb, reflect and re-emit up to 95% of the total solar radiance while only 5% is admitted into the interior space. To help operate exterior shutters or screens, fully-motorised sliding and folding track solutions are available, as well as motorised louvre solutions, all fully-programmable.
The benefit of motorised solutions is that the user can control the entry of heat and light at the touch of a button, especially practical for exterior solutions where weather conditions may be poor, or for fixed glass installations where access might be an issue. Additionally, it is possible to programme shutters/louvres to open at pre-determined times of the day – a benefit for both heat/light control and security.
It is possible to design bespoke screens/shutters that will allow maximum heat gain in the winter months and reduce internal temperatures during the summer months. Some structures with large expanses of glass have reported lowering air conditioning cost by over 50%.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BREEAM Visual comfort Glare control.
- Brise soleil.
- Control of solar shading IP 4 17.
- Daylight lighting systems.
- Retrofitting solar shading.
- Solar gain.
- Solar shading.
- Solar shading of buildings BR 364.
- Solar thermal panels.
- The daylight factor.
- Thermal comfort.
- Urban heat island effect.
- Wind Resistance for External Blinds.
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