Especially in hot countries, such as the Mediterranean, where the sunshine is the most common weather phenomenon, the use of an external shading system, such as awnings, pergolas, etc., is absolutely essential to any building. It is vital, as it is directly related to saving energy, creating a good relationship between the building and the environment, but also to protect humans from harmful UVB sunlight. And the need for research, study, creation and use of modern and effective sun protection systems becomes even more urgent, because of the outbreak of ecological problems.
In Southern Europe the energy consumed annually for air conditioning is two to three times higher than that consumed for heating. Therefore, it should be made so as not to overheat the interior of the building with the invasion of the sun. The appropriate external shading system can provide a strong defense against the sun rays, creating a kind of filter between the external and internal environment. It significantly reduces the heat that enters the space and hence the temperature (up to 10˚C), while limiting the use of air conditioners. Similarly, the use of an awning or an umbrella with high quality and protective cloth - fabric, effectively protects against the UVB rays of the sun that are carcinogenic or cause irritation and burns.
Controlled exposure of a building to the sun can result in the ideal internal temperature and impressive energy savings. But the role of shading systems is not limited only to preventing the sunlight when it is unpleasant. At the same time, it must allow entry inside, when desired, ensuring -in each case- proper ventilation and room lighting. However, the light control process within a structure is quite complex and specialized knowledge is required, since the way the light falls on a building is not static. It varies from season to season, depending on the time of day, climate, orientation etc. And of course, sun protection systems are important elements of the appearance of buildings, contributing not only to functionality, but also in their aesthetic, interacting and collaborating with the architecture.