Solar sunshades in Buenos Aires Argentina  (C) Daniel FriedmanSolar Shades for Controlling Sunlight, Heat Gain, Heat Loss on buildings

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Solar shades to block excessive sunlight or heat gains: this article discusses the function of sun shades to block direct sun for controlling heat gain in passive solar buildings.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Guide to Choosing & Using Solar Shades in or on Buildings to Control Bright Sun & High Heat Gain at Windows

Sun shading alternatives in Buenos Aires (C) Daniel Friedman

Our page top photograph shows an older solution to solar sunshading in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

These hinged solar screens can be latched and opened or shut as a hinged-vertical sunscreen (photo left side) or as an awning-type sunscreen (photo right side). As we show below, this system also permits individual sections of the louvered screen to be open or shut from indoors.

Our photo (left) shows a variety of solar sun shading alternatives in use in Buenos Aires, Argentina. - Ed.

Accompanying text is reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

The question-and-answer article below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

Finding Vertical Exterior Sunshades that Retract & Adjust to Block all Direct Sunlight

Question: Where can I find exterior solar shades that use vertical louvered elements that retract and adjust?

While there seem to be plenty of sources for exterior solar shades and interior solar blinds with horizontal fins, slats, or louvers, I have had no luck finding exterior solar shades with vertical elements that retract and adjust.

I have a number of projects with a western exposure overlooking the ocean, where only a vertical shading device can maintain a partial view, while blocking direct sun from above, straight on, and from below (reflected from the water). -- Chris Hendricks, Los Angeles CA

Solar shade installation Tucson AZ (C) Daniel Friedman

[Our photo at above-left shows a contemporary horizontal solar shade installation in Tucson, Arizona. As we explain below, for techical reasons vertical-louvered solar shade elements will be uncommon. - Ed.

Below our photo shows an older wooden window shutter mounted with a top hinge, acting as a sloar awning to provide solar shading on a building in downtown Genoa, Italy. The wide slats and openings permit additional air flow.

Window shutters acting as a solar shade on a building in Genoa, Italy (C) Daniel Friedman

Answer: Vertical solar shade elements are uncommon but some commercial alternatives are available.

Solar screening in Buenos Aires (C) Daniel FriedmanThis is a tall order for solar sunshading indeed! Louvered devices that effectively block all direct sun from all angles you mention would have to have both vertical (for low west sun) and horizontal (for straight-on and water-reflected sunlight). This adds up to an egg-crate configuration that would probably cut too much view to be acceptable.

Vertical-louvered systems made for commercial projects could be adapted, but not cheaply.

The Moore Co. makes an adjustable vertical solar sunlight screen system with 8-inch aluminum blades that they could taylor to your requirements.

[Our photo (left) shows a versatile louvered sun screen installed on many windows in Buenos Aires, Argentina --DF]

We suggest you consider using an exterior woven polyester shade screen, either fixed or roller-mounted.

Available in many colors (charcoal, silver gray, bronze and more ) a polyester woven sunshade screen will reduce solar gain by up to 90 percent, but still allow some through-visibility.

Some of the newer solar screening products such as Pfifer's SuperSolar screening can block 90 percent of sunlight while providing good outwards visibility.

Polyester woven solar screens can be manually or motor-operated, or even automated to respond to sunlight. A polyester sunscreen shade is produced by Levolor Lorentzen and by Phifer Wire Products and other manufacturers.

Polyester solar screen used at a New York City construction site (C) Daniel Friedman[Our photo (above-left) shows use of a woven polyester screen suitable for difficult sunscreening applications, in use in New York City at a construction site. -- DF]

Pfifer also produces insect screening, interior and exterior screening products including


A variety of sun screen products and fabrics is currently available and are shown at Technical Reviewers & References where we list sun screen product and solar screening fabric producers and sources.

Vertical solar screen in Buenos Aires Argentina (C) Daniel Friedman

Our solar screen photograph (above) of a solar sunshade screening system in widespread use in Buenos Aires shows one of the opening positions of this system, viewed from indoors.

Our detailed photo demonstrates the ability to open and close individual solar screen segments for outdoor view or admittance of light and air in the strong-sun climate of Buenos Aires, Argentina. -- DF

Also see our page top photo of this sunshade system viewed from outdoors.

Solid stone sun & storm shutter, Church of Santa Fosca (Torcello) in the Venetian lagoon (C) Daniel Friedman

The solid stone shutter shown in our photo above is one of many installed on the Church of Santa Fosca on the island of Torcello in the Venetian Lagoon. The Chiesa Santa Fosca dates from the ninth century, though in its present form this church is much newer, dating from the twelfth century.

Another photo of these stone window shutters and more information about their use can be found at HURRICANE, WIND, & STORM-RESISTANT WINDOWS.

Solid wood window shutters are more-widely used thorughout Venice and on buildings in the Venetial Lagoon, primarily for sun protection, as shown in our wood window shutter photo below.

Wood window shutters on a building on the Venetian Lagoon island of Burano (C) Daniel Friedman

The question-and-answer article about the use of solar shades or solar blinds and blocking unwanted heat gain from sunlight in buildings, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution.

For a discussion of night-time insulation using low-E solar shades, see SOLAR SHADES, LOW-E EFFECTIVENESS.

The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below was preceded (above) by an expanded/updated online version of this article.


Continue reading at SOLAR SHADES, LOW-E EFFECTIVENESS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see GREENHOUSE / SUNSPACE GLARE for a discussion of use of shades and louvers for sunlight glare control in buildings

Or see PASSIVE SOLAR Roof & Window Overhangs - an alternative to solar shades.



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SOLAR SHADES & SUNSCREENS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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