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The primary means of meeting thermal performance is the frame and glass selection. In addition to the proper selection of frame and glass, the integration of sun control devices into a project could add significant benefits. Sun control devices can consist of exterior attachments (i.e. sunshades and shutters), interior attachments (i.e. light shelves and blinds), integrated devices (blinds) and photovoltaic devices.

Proper use of these devices can save money, make money and/or improve occupant satisfaction and productivity.

Exterior Shade Devices

Exterior components are typically sunshades or shutters. Whereas shutters are operable components, sunshades are usually fixed products that project out from the building. Popular in Southern and Western regions, sunshades will reduce direct sunlight entering the building, which in turn reduces the cooling load required. At the same time, it does allow some sunlight into the buildings. The use of sunshades also allows for less expensive glass types since expensive glass tints may not be necessary.


Unless the use of the sunshade is purely aesthetic, in order to optimize the effectiveness of sunshade devices, it is important to know the orientation of the building to the path of the sun. This will enable consultants to properly select the placement of sunshades on a building.


Generally used in residential projects, shutters can be used in commercial applications for punched openings. By the nature of their design, they are not very effective sun control devices. Therefore, they are used almost exclusively as protective devices for hurricanes, tornadoes and blast protection.

Interior Shading Devices

Interior shading devices are on the interior side of the glass or frame. These include light shelves and blinds or shades. These can be used to reflect light within the building or diffuse direct sunlight. These could in turn reduce heating and cooling loads, as well as electricity usage. Blinds can be manually or automatically controlled. In the case of light shelves, proper usage or incorporation should be considered when designing the lighting within the building.

Integrated Devices

Integrated devices offer shading such as blinds that are integrated into a glazed wall.

Solar Power Generated Devices

Notice in the photo above, solar panels circle the upper portion of building envelope.