Home » General Health » Retractable Awnings in Europe and the Simultaneous Evolution

Awnings have been common for more than 2000 years; retractable awnings have been around for almost 150 years. While the history of using awnings stretches far back in Europe and retractable awnings are commonly used there today, they’re rare in the United States – despite the fact that retractable awnings were invented in the US. This uneven adoption has led to an exposure of design options in Europe – intricate frames, new types of retractable frames, bold colors, and luscious patterns – while America, treating awnings as a practical afterthought, has stayed more conservative.

A Quick History

Some form of awnings has been around for millennia, starting in Egypt and the Middle East and spreading across the Roman Empire. Most of those were fixed canopies of mats, skins, or fabric bolts hung over poles. In the mid-1800s, shop owners began using movable awnings, which simply bunched up the fabric when it was taken down. In the latter part of the century, they began rolling awnings on a tube, cleanly retracting them and keeping the fabric safe. With minor variation, this is the same basic design used today on lateral arm retractable awnings.

Different Reasons for Using Awnings

Various factors have come into play for why Europe has, for nearly a century, been consistently integrating retractable awnings into architectural plans. Many of the initial reasons were cultural; prevalent open air markets had contributed to a long history of fixed awning use, so it was a natural transition to easier to use and longer-lasting retractable awnings.

More practically, though, the widespread use of retractable awnings comes down to cooling and energy efficiency. Europe has very high energy costs and, because of many old homes and flats, most residences do not have air-conditioning systems installed. Therefore, European homeowners have had an imperative to find inexpensive, effective cooling and efficiency products – and one of the most effective methods for controlling interior heat is retractable awnings.

Differences in Style

The different reasons for retractable awning use in Europe and the US have produced different emphases on style. Because awnings had a stylistic influence in European history which transitioned to efficiency uses, European awning fabrics and designs tend to be more dramatic and flamboyant. For example, European fabric lines average about 400 fabric designs, while American lines average 200. Color choices in Europe tend to be lighter and brighter.

What the Future Holds

As energy efficiency continues to be a growing issue for American homeowners, retractable awning will be a new opportunity to explore. Based on the experiences and widespread effectiveness observed in Europe, there are exciting changes in store for American markets in the next few years: new architectural design integration with new construction, wildly expanding fabric choices and styles, new retractable awning designs, and natural energy efficiency.

Published at: Recent Health Articleshttp://recenthealtharticles.org

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