How external awnings can improve your home’s energy efficiency

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, you don’t always have to opt for the latest innovations. Something as simple as external awnings can improve the energy efficiency of your home. We’ve compiled the information below to provide the basics of awnings. If you are looking to install awnings at home, it’s important to conduct your own research and discuss your needs with a certified provider.


What are external awnings? 

External awnings are a shading solution for your windows, doors, porch, or patios. They can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, iron, or fabric. When choosing an awning, it’s important to choose one that is within your budget, waterproof, durable and offers UV protection.

Shading around windows can block up to 90% of the sun’s heat entering your home. External awnings help improve a home’s energy efficiency as they shade the exterior of your home, reducing the amount of the sun’s heat that enters your home, helping keep the interior cooler. In winter, retractable awnings can be pushed back to enable the sun to help warm your home.

Using awnings to manage the temperature of your home naturally reduces the need for artificial heating and cooling thereby reducing energy use, cost and your emissions. External awnings above outdoor entertaining areas can also maximise the use of space in your home. The shade and shelter awnings can provide allows the area to be used comfortably in the heat or rain.


Types of external awnings

There are many types of awnings, common ones are:

Fixed awnings

These are generally,

  • Mounted to a wall.
  • Non retractable.
  • Made with a metal frame using a fabric - PVC, Acrylic, mesh, or metal covering.
  • Some types have vents allowing the sun to come through which close when the rain comes.

Folding arms

  • Mounted to a wall, above doors and windows.
  • Folding arms make the awning adjustable. They can be adjusted in cooler months to let in the sun’s heat to warm your home or expanded to limit the sun’s heat during summer.
  • Manual crank operation or motorised for extending or folding the awning.
  • Made from metal frame and fabric - PVC, acrylic or mesh.

Straight drop

  • Fixed above window.
  • Can drop down or be rolled up to provide shade or let sunlight in.
  • Motorised or manual.
  • Made from metal frame and fabric PVC, acrylic or mesh.



What do I need to consider before installing them onto my home? 

Strategic positioning

Your home’s orientation and climate zone influence how much sunlight and heat from the sun your home receives throughout the day. 

Australia’s sun path is to the north, so the north facing rooms in your property receive the most sun, making it ideal to prioritise installing awnings on north facing rooms. Awnings can also be suitable for any orientation. Read the Australian Government’s Your Home Orientation and Shading guides to learn more about how to adapt awnings and other design elements to the orientation of your home to maximise passive heating and cooling options.

Which awning do I choose?

It’s important to discuss your needs with an awnings provider and consider the following:

  • The size and surrounding space of the windows, doors, porch, or patio.
  • Location of windows, doors, porch or patio and their orientation (north, east, west).
  • Building type (house, townhouse, or apartment building - if you live in a strata complex, you may need strata approval to install awnings).
  • Operation type – motorised or manual (crank operation, rope, tape cord, and the ability to adjust from indoors)
  • Your budget, as this will influence the material and how the awning is operated (manual or mechanical). Each material has its own pros and cons. Below is a brief outline of three materials awnings cam be made from:  
Material Pros Cons
Canvas Durable
May not be an aesthetic match to all homes.
Acrylic Long lasting
Flexible with design
Aren’t waterproof so rain may leak, making it an unsuitable option for climate zones that experience a lot of rain.
Metal Durable Need monitoring for rust and dents.

Your provider will give more information on the pros and cons of which material you choose.


You may be eligible for a Green Home Loan

Looking to install external awnings for your home? Alongside the usual credit criteria, if your property has at least three of the following environmental features you may be eligible for the discounted Gateway Green Home Loan:

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems / solar panels
  • Solar battery storage system
  • Rain / storm water tank
  • Certified double-glazed windows
  • Solar hot water system
  • 5 star gas or electric heating
  • External awnings
  • Solar pool heating system
  • Home insulation that meets government standards for geographic area
  • Energy efficient LED lights in over 75% of the property
  • Split systems, evaporative cooler or star rated zoned air conditioning units with either a minimum energy rating 4/6 stars or minimum 6/10 stars
  • Gas hot water system

The Gateway Green Home Loan rewards members who want to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle with a discounted interest rate.

Apply online today or speak to our member services team to find out more – because banking shouldn’t cost the earth.