Retractable Awnings - 3 Ways They Add Value to Your Home

If you are a Do-It-Yourself type of person, then the idea of adding to your house's hospitality potential gets you excited. Design and decorating ideas make you salivate, and you keep your eyes open for new ways to increase your home's market value.

Have you heard about retractable awnings? If so, they likely strike you as a good way to control sunlight and create shade in strategic areas. You've probably thought about them as a tool for enhancing outdoor areas. And these are realistic benefits that awnings provide. However, there are additional ways that awnings can be employed as part of a home improvement strategy, increasing the resale value of your residence. Here is a summary of three significant ways this happens.

First, retractable awnings alter the interior environment of your home. That might be surprising, since awnings are usually applauded for their deck or poolside uses, but stay with me. Here's the big picture: If you install awnings above windows on the sides of your house that are routinely overheated, you can cut glare UV rays by 94 percent and lower the temperatures inside your home by up to 15 degrees (American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers).

The upshot is that you won't find yourself pulling blinds to combat the direct sunlight. Your home furnishing won't be bleached by the sun. And the inside of your home will have a more open, inviting atmosphere, illuminated (not scorched) by filtered sunlight.

Second, retractable awnings make your home stand out. This is all the more true in areas where the houses have similar architecture. Realtors say that curb appeal is one of the primary factors that come to bear on potential home buyers: What is their immediate impression when they pull up to view your house? Awnings come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes to match any type of home. By blending them with your existing architecture, you'll add appealing personality to your entry areas, decks, patios, or windows.

Third, retractable awnings multiply fuel efficiency. The obvious way this happens is by saving you cash on utility bills, since awnings have the ability to lower interior temperatures dramatically (see above). However, studies by the EPA reveal that this type of energy efficiency affects a home's eventual resale value as well--so there is a pay-off down the road as well as an immediate one. Approximately, for every $1 saved on utility bills, a residence adds $10-25 in resale worth.

We can see how this might add up by performing a few quick calculations. Awnings installed over bright windows can lower interior temperatures by up to 15 degrees. In turn, this cuts air conditioning bills and results in overall energy savings of 25 to 34 percent, depending on climate. Let's do the math.

If you pay $80 a month on electricity, strategically installed awnings would save you a minimum of $25 per month and $300 per year. If we multiply that number by the low resale value stat ($10 more in resale worth for every utility $1 saved), we end up with a $3000 increase in your residence's asking price. You would actually realize these savings by situating awnings above the sun-baked windows of your home (typically south, west, and east sides), lowering them in bright weather, and retracting them on overcast, chilly days to take advantage of solar heat.

If you're the type who keeps a look-out for affordable home improvement projects, you may want to take a closer look at retractable awnings. There aren't many DIY projects that can match their combined economy and style.