Whether you’re in Bothell, Bellevue, Renton, Seattle or one of the many dozens of other great communities in the northwest, you know that air conditioning is rare in these parts. Traditionally, we’ve never seen the sustained warm temperatures that require it (though there were a few days last summer where, with temperatures shooting over 100 degrees, air conditioning sales skyrocketed).
So, it’s no real surprise that Seattle ranked dead last among 12 major U.S. cities in a study conducted by the Center for Sustainable Building Research. In fact, Seattle was significantly lower when it came to cooling energy usage than even the second-to-last city – Boston – by almost a 3:1 ratio.
The study found that for houses with equal window orientation on all four sides (without awnings), Seattle homes, on average, used 252 kWh of cooling energy in a year; houses with mostly western-facing windows used 358 kWh.
Phoenix, in comparison, used 7,400 – 8,100 kWh of cooling energy in a year.
Despite the fact Northwest residents don’t typically have air conditioning installed, we do rely on other cooling methods such as electricity guzzling fans. And even when we do, we tend to have those uncomfortably warm summer days where jumping in Lake Washington is often the only escape.
However, the study shows that there is a much more reliable way to reduce heat in your home and save tremendously on energy costs: installing awnings. For comparable houses with awnings installed, Seattle homes saw average cooling energy savings of 61% to 69%. That’s pretty impressive.
So next time you think about buying an additional fan that will blow that hot air from one corner of the room to the other, or installing an expensive, environmentally unfriendly air conditioning system, consider investing in awnings for your home. You may just discover that they have all kinds of benefits.