A conservatory is a desirable addition to any modern or traditional home, typically offering a light, airy space in which to entertain family and friends or simply to relax away from the rigours of family life. However, most conservatories are constructed mainly from glass so care must be taken in their positioning, in the first instance, and in the choice of an appropriate method of cooling. You may find that on a hot sunny day – even allowing for the vagaries of the British summer – the temperature in a conservatory rises above 26°C making it uncomfortable to sit in even with all the doors and windows open.
Conservatory Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is perhaps the most effective method of cooling a conservatory not least because an air conditioning unit can not only cool the air during the summer months but also provide heating when external conditions are less clement. Air conditioning units are, however, fairly expensive – £1,000 or more is not uncommon – require professional installation and work best when employed in tandem with a conservatory awning or blind; awnings or blinds reduce the increase in temperature from direct solar gain whilst air conditioning maintains the overall air temperature at a comfortable level.
Conservatory Awnings & Blinds
If your conservatory is suitably positioned an external awning can provide not only a cooling effect – by preventing solar radiation from reaching the glass of your conservatory in the first place – but can extend the space available in your conservatory to your garden or patio when the weather permits. This may not, of course, be possible in all cases and interior conservatory blinds – pleated, roller, Venetian, etc. – can be an aesthetically pleasing and effective alternative. Interior blinds obviously reduce the glare and heating effect of direct sunlight during the summer months but can also help to retain heating in your conservatory during the winter. They also afford a degree of privacy if your conservatory is overlooked and can reduce the effect of direct sunlight on your carpets, furnishings and fittings. Conservatory blinds can, of course, be chosen in a style and colour to complement the remainder of your conservatory interior.
Conservatory Window Film
Conservatory window film is another popular cost-effective option for conservatory cooling with the added advantage of being virtually maintenance free in comparison to air conditioning, awnings or blinds. Window films obviously vary in their physical construction and thermal properties but typically reflect up to 75% or more of the energy contained in solar radiation. This means that they have an immediate cooling effect and prevent the penetration of UVA (“Ultraviolet A”) radiation – which is present all year around, can penetrate untreated window glass and is potentially harmful to human skin as well as carpets etc. – into your conservatory space. The application of window film can also bring conservatory glass up to BS 6206:1981 standard for impact performance meaning that in the event of breakage there are no flying glass shards or exposed sharp edges. Furthermore, if used in combination with an air conditioning unit window film can greatly reduce the running costs of that unit.