Shading and Solar Control with Timber

Internal vs Exterior Shading Options

Vertical timber louvres control internal temperature and light ingress

How to Use Timber for Effective Shading

Proper shading design is important for modern architecture and home design. Protecting the internal areas from overheating, as well as glare and light are important aspects of a building’s performance over time.

But when it comes to looking at the shading options for a build what is best? Internal or exterior shading?

Benefits of Interior Shading

Most interior shading systems comprise of internal blinds or curtains. However, internal timber shutters have become more popular over the last few years. These internal blind systems stop light, glare and some heat from travelling through a space and causing discomfort to the occupants.

Internal shading can contribute to the interior design of a space. Many windows would seem simply unfinished if a curtain or blind were not included within the design. These internal shading devices are also excellent at controlling the internal light and glare levels. Automated internal blinds and curtains can be very useful and when combined into a building management system or smart home automation design, they can offer high levels of performance within the building.

However, when it comes to protection against overheating, internal shading systems are not always the most effective.

This is because, if you are using internal shading, the solar radiation has already entered the building by the time that it hits the internal shade. The material can then heat up and allow radiation to enter the space contributing to overheating.

You should also consider, that blind and curtain materials that are good at protecting internal areas from overheating often do not provide the performance the occupants want for shading and glare protection. For example, light colored blinds are best for solar protection as they do not absorb the solar radiation heat. However, they are not as effective at shading from light and glare. Whereas dark coloured fabrics are best for shading light and protection from glare but they heat up under solar radiation, which then transfers heat internally.

New blind fabrics with metals within them are improving the performance of internal shading blinds against overheating of interior spaces.

Benefits of Exterior Shading

There are various benefits to external shading which allow buildings and houses to maximise the shading potential and massively improve the performance of the interior space.

Exterior shading is one of the only ways in which you can adhere to England’s Building Regulations Approved Document O which looks to address the challenges of overheating in houses.

As well as stopping solar energy before it is able to penetrate the building envelope, exterior shading maximises internal spaces and can positively contribute towards the architecture of a building. Read our full article here about the full benefits of exterior shading.

external timber shading

Shading and Approved Document O

Approved Document O includes various approved methods to include into a design for a new build dwelling to protect it from overheating. All approved shading methods within approved document O are exterior shading options and the document explicitly states that interior shading options cannot be considered when looking at the overheating protection for the building.

Timber Options for Shading

Whether you are looking for interior or exterior shading, timber can play a vital role in the building design and performance.

Externally, timber shutters or battens can be used for shading, with timber louvre systems offering a high-performance shading solution that sits on the outside of the building.

If you are looking to include an interior shading into the interior design, internal timber shutters are often a popular option.

If you are looking into the timber options for exterior shading on your next project,get in touch with the team at Avino.