6 Places Sunshades & Canopies Are Most Often Installed And Why

A Tale of Two Sun Control Solutions

Architectural canopies and sunshades are the two sun control solutions that have really risen to the top. While some may confuse the two, to a seasoned pro, they are unmistakably different. The one true distinction between sunshades and canopies is the structure itself. Sunshades allow filtered light and precipitation through them while canopies are solid structures, making canopies impenetrable to the elements. Thus, they can serve similar purposes, but also very different ones. We’ll explain the subtleties in this blog.

4 Reasons Why Architectural Canopies & Sunshades are So Popular

1. Curb Appeal & Architectural Design

Businesses are now increasing more focus on curb appeal. Architects tend to use architectural canopies and sunshades to soften the look of buildings, add a pop of color and personality, and to break up an otherwise repetitive, uninteresting design. 

2. Customization

Whether you need an architectural canopy or sunshade for a storefront, mixed use buildings, or any other type of commercial space, selecting a design that meets the needs and vision of the client is most important. Today, a good sunshade or canopy has this ability to offer a style that is not only functional, but also incorporates the specific design elements needed to fit the commercial property and brand guidelines. 

3. Durability

The need for custom sun-control solutions has driven product innovations in quality, and architectural flexibility. Specifically, the demand for pre-fabricated canopies on commercial properties is creating a need for stronger, more creative designs and materials built to withstand heavy snow loads and hurricane-force winds.

4. Sustainability 

Sustainable design is a hot topic when it comes to today’s architecture, therefore today’s sun solutions must meet that demand, and are doing so with flying colors. Today’s architectural sunshades and canopies both greatly support sustainability and energy efficiency. They are expertly engineered to dissipate solar radiation while enhancing natural daylight, the interior’s atmosphere, and visibility.

Top 6 Most Popular Locations to Install Canopies & Sunshades 

Now that you know why sunshades and canopies are so popular, let’s explore where they are being installed most frequently and why.

1. Self-Storage Facilities

Top-quality commercial storage facilities care greatly about the exterior of their buildings, which exude a sense of professionalism, safety, security, and trustworthiness. Two architectural elements that help set these self-storage buildings apart of their competition and truly elevate their brand are architectural canopies and sunshades. Great examples of this are our clients, Extra Space Storage, Uncle Bob’s Storage and Delta Storage.

2. Loading Docks

You may not recognize it right away, but if you start to pay attention, most buildings with loading docks generally have architectural canopies covering each dock. Why? Protection from the elements. Think big box retail stores, warehousing facilities and schools. When cargo is transported in and out of these buildings, it must be protected, which is why architectural canopies are a must over loading docks. 

3. Commercial Real Estate Buildings

Development companies and property managers love canopies for their commercial real estate buildings and complexes. Think eateries, offices, cinemas, etc. But, in case you want a quick summary, here’s why: Canopies are highly customizable, available in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and designs. They are also visually pleasing, enhancing an architect’s vision and adding depth and color to any building. They’re great for branding, helping distinguish a brand with ease. They also extend a property’s available space. Finally, architectural canopies are extremely long-lasting and provide protection from environmental elements to building patrons. 
Architectural sunshades are just as popular for commercial buildings because of their ability to soften a building’s exterior and provide energy savings by reducing sunlight from heating the interior of the building.

4. Schools & Academic Institutions

High schools, grade schools, colleges and other academic institutes are big fans of both sunshades and canopies for every reason under the sun. (Pun intended.) Improving any institute’s sustainability practices while improving energy efficiency is in higher and higher demand. Further these sun-control solutions enhance the building’s aesthetic while keeping students safe as they enter and exit the facility. 

5. Storefronts & Retail Centers

For reasons identical to why commercial real estate buildings love sunshades and canopies, so too do shopping centers and storefronts. They are incredibly customizable, visually pleasing, add color and dimension, support branding efforts, and extend a property’s available space (think sidewalk sales). And canopies, in particular, protect patrons from inclement weather when entering or exiting the retail space. 

6. Residential Properties 

Many residential buildings use architectural canopies as a way to provide shelter from inclement weather or the summer’s hot sun. It’s the first thing to greet guests and residents of the building and it’s the last thing they see when they leave. Canopies also lend themselves an opportunity to distinguish the building from others by having the building name or address mounted to the top of the Canopy and you can easily add lighting as well, now you have a warm and welcoming building entrance. There are many styles, shapes and sizes of Canopies, which lend themselves to be easily integrated into an Architectural plan. On residential buildings you’ll also see them over delivery areas, side doors, above windows and/or balconies.

Too Many To Count

While we have listed some of the most typical applications for architectural canopies and sunshades, there are many, many more industries and building types that install these sun solutions for the reasons we just rattled off above. Industries and infrastructure include pavilions and outdoor dining areas, airports, bus and train stations, office buildings, and hospitals. If you fall into one of these categories and are looking for a way to beautify your building (while also aiding in energy reduction), you may want to consider a mix of sunshades and canopies.

We recommend you speaking with an expert at DCI Signs & Awnings. You can call us at (973) 350-0400 or email us at to get more information on how to get started on your next project. 

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