Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020 - 48

living and can be easily managed at the
touch of a button, or even with app or
voice control," she says. Somfy reports
a slight increase in retractable awning
sales and "significantly higher" growth
in external zip screens and pergolas
over the past few years.

A 25-foot-wide by 16-foot-deep Total Eclipse retractable awning with
Sunbrella® Silica Charcoal fabric provides ample sun protection and clean
lines for a custom home in Baltimore, Md. Photo: Loane Bros. Inc.

BY DESIGN
trend in both residential and commercial design toward modern,
minimalist architecture has affected sales of certain kinds of
awnings, according to some manufacturers. "The end user
is becoming more cognizant of style and the modern look is what they
want," says Erin Collis, marketing and communications manager at
Corradi USA Inc.
For the same reason, Mike O'Connor, sales manager for Loane Bros.
Inc., is seeing increased interest in the company's shade line. "Exterior
motorized shades with tracks are very appealing to customers because
of the clean look and versatility," he says, but adds, "not every customer
has that type of budget, though."
Modern architecture is also bringing changes to the industry in terms
of permanent structures, often designed by architects-such as cleanlined pergolas-according to Aldo Campa, BAT USA sales manager.
"Pergolas are becoming more popular among architectural firms, more
than retractables. They become part of the overall project and are often
combined with lateral roll-down screens for functional outdoor living."
48 REVIEW FEBRUARY 2020

LIGHT GREEN ONLY?
Given that retractables offer a clear benefit
in reduced energy consumption and,
therefore, energy costs, one would expect
that consumers and businesses would
consider them for that reason alone-but
that doesn't appear to be the case. Scop puts
it bluntly, when asked if energy efficiency
is a factor in retractable sales: "Never
with residential customers and rarely
with commercial clients, architects and
landscape architects; and it really should be.
I believe more education is needed."
Bryan Loane, president of Baltimore,
Md., awning manufacturer and dealer
Loane Bros. Inc., thinks the health risk
from the sun makes a more compelling
case for American consumers. "Europeans
tend to be 'greener,' so they appreciate the
energy savings, but here one of the main
factors is the concern for sun exposure and
the risk for skin cancer," he explains. He
sees more potential from health reasons for
retractables and other shade products. "I've
seen growth, especially in public spaces like
playgrounds, and anticipate it continuing."
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
While there's wide agreement that a need
for sun protection and the public's growing
desire to spend more time outdoors bodes
well for the shade industry overall, it's not
clear how large a role retractable awnings
will play. It's likely they will continue to
be part of a cast of products designed to
deliver shade, comfort, weather protection
and energy savings-but perhaps not
as the star performer. Scop agrees that
other products may gain prominence:
"Retractable folding lateral arm awnings



Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020

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