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Working with architects on awning projects

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One way to spread the word on energy savings—as well as the overall benefits of awnings—is by forming relationships with architects and engineers for commercial projects. For example, awnings and canopies can contribute to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points for sustainable buildings. Durasol Awnings Inc.’s national director of sales Alan Pedersen says, “LEED certification is not given to specific products but rather for an overall project, with optimization of energy performance being the highest single area for achieving LEED certification points on a project.”

Kevin Kelly, president of Globe Canvas Products Co. in Yeadon, Pa., feels that it’s worth familiarizing architects with awning products so they can begin to include them in their designs. “You would probably catch the engineers if you contacted the architects first because the engineers will see the awnings on the blueprints and would want to know the specifics of building them,” he says. The process can be arduous and time consuming, Kelly maintains. “There is so little training of architects and engineers in nonrigid materials, let alone textiles.”

Still, awning companies are stepping up their marketing with “lunch-and-learns” for architects, who can earn continuing education credits from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) by attending these events.

The updated Awnings: Enhancing Your Design presentation provides Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA) members with a means to establish relationships with local architectural firms. When architects put awnings and canopies into their project designs, it is more likely that awnings and canopies will be on the finished building. This program also offers AIA members a one-hour Continuing Education Unit credit (CEU) to help maintain their architect license.

Since its inception, over 1700 architectural professionals have attended sessions. PAMA members can order the revised Awnings: Enhancing Your Design presentation and related materials by contacting PAMA managing director Michelle Sahlin at +1 651 225 6948.

Holly O’Dell is a freelance writer based in Pine City, Minn.

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