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Awnings go green

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From the buzz generated by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to rising energy costs on record-setting days of heat, business owners are looking into ways to reduce their environmental footprint. Rainier Industries vice president of sales Bruce Dickinson offers, “It’s on everybody’s mind these days. Architects, designers, and contractors are all concerned with saving energy. The easiest way to do that is through shading.”

The Professional Awning Manufacturer’s Association (PAMA) has commissioned research studies to document the impact awnings can have on heating and cooling efficiency and costs. Zola offers an example, “A 30 percent reduction in energy use in a building from the shade provided by awnings speaks volumes in today’s world of hybrid cars and high energy costs. As our industry communicates [the benefits] to the market, the demand for awnings will also increase. Europe experienced this many years ago and saw an explosion in retractable awning sales.”

Mitch Pietruszka, owner of Sunstate Awnings in Englewood, Fla., believes PAMA’s efforts have led to new business. “PAMA is giving us legitimacy by going to the heating and air conditioning professionals and getting [energy use] statistics from them. When PAMA does things of that nature and publicizes the results to the general public it’s something that will benefit us for a long time. It’s a third party endorsement.”

Lou Dzierzak is the editor of Fabric Graphics.

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