Of all the locations an awning can be put to for providing extra protection from the elements to the various portals in a building, the most commonly used are window awnings. While awnings over doors or extended patio areas can be used to extend a restaurant's eating space or enhance the entranceway, the protections provided by a window awning are many. One should not confuse awnings with canopies as awnings do not have vertical column supports whereas that is a defining feature of a canopy.
The main purpose of a window awning is to extend the shade area over a window and thus preserve the materials of rugs and drapes from color fading in direct sunlight. They provide a effective cooling capability which has been measured to decrease a room's ambient temperature by as much as twenty degrees Fahrenheit during direct sunlight exposure. This is a secondary practical application for decreasing the power consumption of air conditioning efforts.
The awning over a window will protect the actual window frames from a vast majority of the rainfall precipitation and decrease the chances of water damage. The window can also be left open during rain without much chance of water entering the room and damaging furniture or carpets. Many window awnings are constructed so as to be retractable. This aids heating in the winter as the awning can be drawn up to allow radiant sunlight to add its effect to a room's temperature.
Aesthetically, window awnings add a "dressed" look to the windows of a building. For businesses, the window awnings also provide an extra source of advertising as th
e company information can be added to the awning rather than increasing the expense of making and attaching a heavy signboard to the building as well. For some businesses, a large window awning can protect window display merchandise from sun and rain and add to the effective presentation area of the store.