By Sigrid Tornquist
In Texas, the benefits of retractable awnings are evident year-round. To a degree, architects design passive solar houses—houses that require a minimum of energy for space heating or cooling. But in many homes in the southern United States, the position of the winter sun can heat up a home more than the owners may like, even if they have stationary awnings. “We get a lot of phone calls in the middle of the winter,” says Ben Skoldeberg of Texas Sun & Shade, Austin, Texas. “People will call and say ‘We’re fine in July but we’re cooking now because the sun is so low and shoots right through the house.’” That’s why, for areas like Austin, retractable awnings can be a good option. “Basically, stationary awnings have their place, and we refer customers to companies that specialize in them,” he says. “But we always install retractable,” he says.