Catalonia is an autonomous region within Spain that is home to the beautiful cities of Barcelona and Tarragona.  As I walked around these cities, I was fascinated by the windows and the coverings over them that help keep the sun out.  It is an old idea, but one that is obviously still used. I saw all types of window coverings, from blinds to shutters to awnings to curtains.  They were on both new and old houses and apartments.   I have noticed these types of window coverings throughout many parts of Europe.

In the U.S. we are less likely to have outdoor curtains, blinds or shutters to reduce heat gain. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adding a window awning can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. No money for an awning?  That’s okay, learn from others and simply add a curtain or a roll-down shade on your west-facing windows.  You will block enough sun to help reduce your air conditioning bill.

Here are some of the window coverings I saw in Tarragona and Barcelona.  Do any of the photos inspire you to add a window covering?

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