Position windows to maximise cross ventilation from cooling summer breezes.
It is best to stop the sun's heat from reaching the glass, rather than dealing with the problem once the heat has entered your home. External shading is much more effective at keeping your home cool than internal blinds or curtains – but a combination of the two will provide maximum protection.
The most appropriate method of shading your windows depends on which direction they face.
Shading North Facing Windows
Blinds or opaque fabric mounted on pergola frames – on cooler days they can be retracted to allow the sun through.
Removable or adjustable vertical shading such as blinds, awnings and shutters.
Eaves and pergolas – in NSW, the width of north facing eaves or pergola shading should be approximately 45% of the vertical height from the window sill to the underside of the horizontal shading device. Also, leave an adequate distance between the top of the window and the underside of the shading device to avoid partial shading of the window in winter.
Shade battens on pergolas – the amount of shading provided depends on the spacing between them (should be no more than one third of the battens' width).
Deciduous trees and vines provide excellent summer shading, without obstructing the winter sun. However, avoid planting large evergreen trees close to the northern windows of your home, as they can block out winter sunlight.
Pergolas with angled louvres: adjustable louvres are preferable to fixed louvres because they provide the flexibility to control the amount of sunlight and shade.
Wide verandahs are not recommended over north facing windows. Although they are effective in keeping out the summer sun, they generally block out too much winter sun.
Shading East and West Facing Windows
Vertical shading devices, such as awnings, blinds and shutters that cover the entire face of the window are most suitable. Horizontal shading like pergolas, eaves and verandahs may not provide adequate shading from the low rising or setting sun.
Removable or adjustable vertical shading such as blinds, awnings and shutters allow you to let in pleasant morning and afternoon sun when it's cold.
Fixed vertical shading such as louvres, fences and walls can provide summer shading but will block out views and sunlight.
Landscaping and vegetation, particularly deciduous trees, shrubs and vines can provide excellent shade in summer, without obstructing the winter sun. However, avoid planting large evergreen trees close to the eastern or western windows of your home, as they can block out winter sunlight.