If asked to list the benefits of building a shading structure, like a pergola or gazebo, in your garden, most people would probably come up with the same answers. A cool place to sit under on a sunny day and also an attractive focal point in the garden to beat the heat.
What almost no one would guess is that a pergola or gazebo can actually lower your air conditioning bills. At first reading, that might seem like nonsense. How can something built in your garden, possibly not even right next to the house, have an effect on the temperature inside the property?
It all has to do with what’s known as the heat island effect. While natural materials typically reflect the sun’s rays, building materials such as stone and brick absorb more of the heat, releasing it back into the environment slowly and causing rises in temperature.
We’ve all experienced it when we’ve been foolish enough to step onto concrete in bare feet only to jump back onto the grass with burned toes. In fact surfaces like roofs and paving that are exposed to direct sunlight can become as much as 50 degrees Celsius hotter than the surrounding air!
By including shaded areas around your villa, and using materials that don’t absorb as much heat, you can reduce the load on your air conditioner by as much as 50 per cent.
The obvious solution is just to plant lots of trees and grass, but of course this can be extremely expensive to maintain in the hotter months, and using so much water on your garden is not environmentally friendly.
The materials we use at Cape Reed more than meet the requirements: our thatch has a Solar Reflective Index of 54.52 and our timber a value of 80.31. Even better, the materials we use come only from sustainable sources, meaning it’s environmentally friendly too.
Although the initial investment may be higher than soft landscaping, the investment will pay for itself over time through lower electricity bills.
Let’s face it we all enjoy spending time outdoors especially under the cosy protection of a Cape Reed thatch structure, and the materials we use outside our houses can have a big impact on the environment, allowing us to spend longer time outdoors at the weather heats up.