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Sonya Awning March 31st, 2018 - 11:58:00
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, theyre 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.
Retractable awnings are a great sun protection system: durable, low maintenance, energy efficient, and low cost. Using retractable awnings also offers specific benefits to business owners in two ways: capital improvements that maximize the appeal and functionality of a building and an improved customer experience that gives shoppers, visitors, and passers-by a more pleasant and enjoyable experience in front of a store or building. Fixed and Retractable Awnings: Whats the Difference for Business? Traditionally, fixed awnings have been the mainstays of commercial awnings, but retractable awnings are becoming an increasingly appealing option as awareness of retractable sun protection systems grows for an important reason.
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. American homeowners, approaching retractable awnings as a functional addition to a house, without the stylistic background, tend to be conservative, choosing fabrics in blacks and grays in sedate stripes and staying with more traditional frame styles.
Extra square footage. Retractable awnings can be used in a variety of applications and have virtually unlimited uses from ticket booths and ATM kiosks to smoking areas and employee break areas. This provides comfortable exterior spaces without extra construction costs. Tax deductible capital improvement. Municipal incentives. Retractable awnings even fall under many municipal capital improvement programs: cities like Norfolk, Virginia; Austin, Texas; San Jose, Calif.; and Philadelphia, all have small business and downtown development programs which offer incentives on capital improvement projects - and all specifically mention awnings as desirable (and incentivized) options. A municipal program can pay anywhere from 25% to 50% of the cost of the retractable awning.