I’ve just returned from completing a bucket list item: vacation in Europe. I studied in Europe (many years ago). I have worked in Europe (short trips to ISE—Integrated Systems Europe—and to our subsidiary, Draper Europe). But I’ve never traveled in Europe just to enjoy it.

2016-09-01-08-23-44This year, we finally made it happen. My husband and I spent two weeks in Tuscany (central Italy) and Provence (southern France). It was an opportunity to see our daughter off for her study abroad in Florence, then to return to my own student home, Avignon.

This blog is not a travelogue. It’s just that … I can’t completely leave my work behind when I’m on vacation. I look at the windows … the audio visual displays … and if I visit a gymnasium (or a sports hall outside the US), I’m looking at the basketball equipment.

On this trip, I couldn’t take my eyes off the windows. We moved from one apartment to another (using AirBNB, the most popular of the websites that enable homeowners to rent rooms or whole homes to visitors). I already knew that exterior window coverings are much more common in Europe. But I didn’t quite expect to see exterior shading on every home I occupied.

2016-08-30-17-31-16There were shutters, awnings, roller shades, even rolling shutters. At the first apartment we visited, we were instructed how to use the operable shutters to their best advantage. Close it in the morning, keep it open all night long. And that home was surprisingly comfortable, on 90 degree (F) days, with no air conditioning and just a few fans. We slept without air conditioning for the whole trip, and we didn’t suffer.

Can we do more of this in the USA? You bet we can. We can even automate those shades, so we don’t need to remember when it is time to open them. We might want to keep our air conditioning, but even with a cooling system, the shades can take a load off, and cut the bills.

Need to know how Draper can help with exterior shading? Here are a couple of links.

For commercial buildings.

For residences.