Solar protection should be the first solution in the fight against overheating of buildings.

According to scientific research carried out by Guidehouse in November 2021, it is time to make automated sun protection mandatory in the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

Smart sun protection could reduce energy consumption for space cooling in European buildings up 60% by the year 2050. It could prevent 100 million tons of CO2 emissions y save 285 billion euros. These are the findings of scientific research conducted by Guidehouse, the first to compare the impact of sun protection with the use of air conditioning in buildings.


According to ES-SO, an organization that brings together the European sun protection sector, this study highlights an urgent need to automate sun protection to make buildings more climate resistant and more energy efficient. Therefore, it urges EU policymakers to make smart sun protection mandatory within the framework of the European Energy Efficiency of Buildings Directive, as a first solution, before resorting to active cooling, such as air conditioning, in the fights overheating.

Anders Hall, President of the ES-SO, comments: “Today, buildings are the largest consumers of energy in Europe, accounting for 40% of our energy and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the Guidehouse study are striking, demonstrating a potential for energy savings of up to 60% in building cooling by 2050. This research underlines the urgency to act and establish solar protection as the first solution to combat overheating of buildings, looking towards a future where they are more climate resistant and less dependent on energy.”

Climate change brings higher temperatures and more intense and long-lasting heat waves. According to simulations and scenarios studied by Guidehouse, if smart shading is implemented as a first measure to control overheating before resorting to active cooling, the need for air conditioning would be significantly reduced (it is estimated that the number of buildings that will require cooling systems will increase by 60%).

In this context, Shady Attia, professor of Sustainable Architecture and Construction Technology at the University of Liège (Belgium), points out that sun protection could greatly contribute to the European Green Deal. “Currently, less than 50% of buildings are equipped with solar protection systems, and many of them are not automated. The results of the Guidehouse study confirm that, for our planet, sun protection is a much more effective option than air conditioning.”

Regarding CO2 emissions, in the preferred scenario proposed by the Guidehouse study, approximately 100 million cumulative tons of emissions could be avoided through 2050. This is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 22 million cars. Furthermore, automated solar shading can reduce the energy used for space cooling in the EU building stock by 60%. This saving, approximately 870 Terawatt hours of electricity, is equivalent to the final energy consumption of Spain, which has 47 million inhabitants.



The study also shows that smart solar protection is a much more profitable investment than active space cooling, as it would save up to €285.000 billion from now until 2050. This amount is similar to the GDP of countries such as Finland and Luxembourg. together.

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