Aristocrat Awnings Win Two International Awards – Best Awnings

Aristocrat® Fabric Awnings won two Outstanding International Achievement Awards for installations by Aristocrat Awning dealers. The Awards were presented at the 2006 Expo of the Industrial Fabric Association International held in Atlanta Georgia October 31-November 2. Aristocrat Awnings were on display at the IFAI Expo.

The awning projects entered into the competition by Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Company were not only beautiful, but also presented unusual installation challenges. The first award was a pool and gazebo shading project in Baltimore, Maryland installed by A. Hoffman Awnings. The second was at the Heidelberg Country Club near Allentown, installed by A.A.A. Awnings of Feasterville and Philadelphia. Both were extremely large awnings that required special installation expertise.

For nearly 60 years, the International Achievement Awards have recognized design and technological innovation and excellence in the specialty fabrics industry. The competition received 348 entries from companies in 13 countries. Entries in 27 categories were judged by a diverse panel of industry experts, editors, architects, educators, and design professionals who were selected for their knowledge of the particular category of competition. Judging was based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness and function.

As an active member of IFAI, Craft-Bilt has the opportunity to enter Aristocrat Awning projects to this annual competition. All of our Aristocrat dealers are invited to submit their best projects to Craft-Bilt for consideration. The winning companies receive press coverage and an award plaque for their showrooms. In addition, photographs of their installations were on display throughout the Expo.

Craft-Bilt, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, manufactures awnings under the trademark Aristocrat, as well as numerous private label awnings. Aristocrat took the top two awards in the Retractable Awning category.

Awnings Save the Deck – A Look at our Best Retractable Awnings

The landscaping is flourishing in the bright summer sun and gentle rains, the deck furniture is in place creating a summertime family room and the planters are brimming with lush greenery and striking splashes of colorful blooms. Summer is finally here in its entire heated splendor!

But, my mid-morning coffee break refuge on the back deck is sun-baked by 3:00 in the afternoon and the blinds are drawn in a furtive attempt to block out the hot summer sun – blocking the view of my springtime labors.

We put a lot of time and money into creating beautiful spaces that expand our living areas for the summer months but, by this time of year, our sun-drenched backyard havens are often just plain too hot to enjoy.

Solution: a retractable awning.

With today’s retractable awnings, those outdoor spaces we’ve worked so hard to create can be enjoyed even on the hottest of summer days. Instant shade is available at the touch of a button and hot summer fun is tempered to warm and inviting summertime relaxation to be enjoyed with family and friends.

Made popular in the 50’s, awning design has come a long way. No longer a springtime chore of wrestling a shriveled canvas cover over an unforgiving aluminum frame followed by the end-of-summer ritual of scrubbing and taking them down for storage over the harsh winter months, today’s awnings offer instant sun protection at the flip of a switch. Electric motors, remote controls, and even sun and wind sensors in self-storing closed cassette systems that are left mounted on the house year-round leave more time for you and your family to enjoy the days of summer.

“Awnings provide shade, protect the interior of our homes and add hours to your deck-time” says Andy Stone, President of Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Co., the manufacturer of Aristocrat Awnings. “A quality product and a well planned installation also look nice adding color and aesthetic interest to the house as well as reducing cooling costs and providing protection to the home’s contents from the sun’s harmful rays.”

Used over a deck, patio or even partially shading the pool, an awning can create an outdoor living space that is up to 20 degrees cooler than areas in full sun says Stone. By blocking the harmful UV rays of the sun, awnings provide protection for your family and friends as well as protecting furniture, draperies and even flooring materials inside your home. Studies have shown that the shade provided by awnings can also result in a savings in home cooling costs.

Aristocrat’s aluminum frame retractable awnings are custom made for each application. Available in widths from 5’1” up to 41’ and projections up to 16’5’, the aluminum frame is sprayed with a baked-on enamel protective coating for added life. Fully retracting arms are hidden from view, running along the line of the fabric cover and when not in use, the awning retracts into a closed cassette system that protects the fabric and the mechanisms adding years to the life of the awning and allowing it to remain mounted year-round.

With over 200 fabric choices in solids, stripes and prints there’s sure to be a color and pattern that will complement your outdoor living space and enhance your home’s value. Mold and mildew resistant fabrics won’t shrink or rot, preventing costly replacement.

“When choosing an awning, it’s important to look for a quality product and quality installation. All of our awnings are custom configured to meet the homeowner’s specific needs and tastes, manufactured for their specific application,” says Stone. This assures that the awning will properly fit the space and add to the aesthetics of the home.

Push-button convenience is yours with options like electric motors and remote controls. There’s even a Sun and Wind Control sensor option that measures the amount of sun exposure and triggers automatic projection and retraction depending on the exposure sensed. Leaving the awning unattended on breezy days is risk-free with the Wind Control sensor that retracts the awning if the wind should pick up. Even the basic hand-crank models are simple to use offering easy one-hand operation thanks to gears that do almost all of the work.

Also available is the Vario Valance. It’s a transparent vinyl mesh screen that rolls down from the face of the awning to the ground filtering out the late afternoon and evening sunlight and adding comfort to your outdoor living space. The optional motorized screen is activated with the flip of a switch and creates a cozy enclosure to enhance your outdoor relaxation.

No matter how hot the summer days ahead may be, you’ll have it made in the shade with a retractable awning!

Awning Dealers Inform: How to Keep Your Home Cooling Costs Under Control

(ARA) – There’s not much you can do about the rising cost of milk, coffee beans or the gasoline that keeps your car running. The factors that determine how much they sell for are out of your hands; but there is something you can take control of this summer — how much you spend to keep your home cool.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 44 percent of power consumption in the summer months goes towards cooling; but there are steps you can take to conserve. Here are some recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Protect windows and doors from the sun during the hottest periods of the day. In a typical home, more energy is transferred through glass doors and windows than through any other construction element. In fact, on a hot day, more energy comes through one square foot of glass than through an entire insulated wall.

    “A lot of people think blinds, curtains or shades are all they need to protect their homes, but they’re wrong,” says Andy Stone, president of Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Company. “They may keep sunlight from entering the room, but they won’t keep the heat out. Awnings, which are mounted on the outside of the house, are much more effective because they prevent the glass from heating up.”

    Craft-Bilt Aristocrat retractable awnings are available for both door and window use and since each awning is custom built, it will fit the opening exactly. There are dozens of designs and hundreds of fabrics to choose from. For more information or to find an awning installer in your area, visit Aristocrat Awnings.
  • Use a programmable thermostat so you can keep the house warmer when you aren't home during the day and cooler at night when you are. In general, keep the thermostat set as high as you can tolerate. You can find a programmable thermostat at your local home improvement store.
  • Close off rooms that you aren’t using and cooling ducts to them to focus the cool on the rooms you are using.
  • Check filters to be sure they are clean. Dirty filters limit air flow and force equipment to work harder and use more energy.
  • Make sure your home is well insulated.
  • Plant shade trees on the south and west sides of your home to cut down on sun exposure.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Make Outdoor Spaces Inviting

(ARA) – With summer approaching, homeowners begin to dream of enjoying their time outside. But in the days of winter it’s easy to forget that an inviting outdoor space takes a bit of planning, if you’re going to really spend hours in the backyard.

It’s easy to create an al fresco haven with only a few simple additions.

With the right features you can have privacy, shade and serenity to enjoy all summer long.

Don’t let the sun chase you off your deck. As temperatures rise, glare and heat can chase you inside on summer afternoons. Popular in Europe for more than 20 years, retractable awnings let you enjoy the outdoors on even the warmest days. Not only will the fabric awnings block the sun’s heat outside, the awnings will also improve indoor spaces by saving money on air conditioning bills and protecting carpets, drapery and upholstery from the UV rays that cause fading.

Experts recommend choosing an awning that requires little or no maintenance.

Look for all aluminum baked-on enamel and powder-coated finishes, as well as durable fabrics and seams for the awning itself.

“Retractable awnings are growing in popularity because with the push of a button, you can have shade in an instant or retract it out of sight when you want the sun,” says Debbie Stone, spokesperson for Pennsylvania-based Craft-Bilt, an industry leader with more than 50 years’ experience.

“Consumers should look for systems that are built to last, using the highest-quality materials, and backed by a warranty. Craft-Bilt awnings never need painting or lubrication, and are TUV approved — the European designation similar to the U.L. approval we see in America. We also pride ourselves on using Gore Tenara thread, which is guaranteed to produce seams that last the life of the fabric.”

“We had French doors in our living room and the sun was heating up the house and changing the color of the carpet,” says Michelle Navon, a homeowner in Massachusetts who installed a Craft-Bilt retractable awning about five years ago. “We thought about installing curtains or tinting the windows, but we didn’t want to change the look of the French doors. The awning does a great job of keeping the house cool, and it looks great too. We enjoy its benefits indoors and out. Our backyard gets direct sun all day, but we can enjoy being outside because of the shade of the awning.”

The deck or patio is a favorite spot for many families, providing a space for entertaining, dining or simply enjoying a good book. But it can also feel like a stage, with you as the star for the whole neighborhood to watch.

Privacy fences and trellis systems don’t allow you to enjoy your lawn and garden views, and can be hard to install and move. Instead, consider using plants to screen the perimeter of your patio. Potted plants in various heights will add a lush feeling. Consider grouping three containers at each corner to define the space, or line up a row of tall topiaries along one side.

To really make your patio or deck work for you, be sure to consider how you and your family will use it most. If it will function as an outdoor dining area, it’s worth it to invest in a high-quality table and chair set that will withstand heavy use and provide comfortable seating. Small pots of herbs nearby will enhance meals with fresh-from-the-garden flavor. For those that like to relax, a chaise or glider is a must. Add a small weather-resistant table to hold a cool drink or reading glasses. Block out traffic noise with a water feature. Many models simply plug in to outdoor outlets and use very little water. You can find a variety of styles to fit your décor, whether it’s Asian-inspired, classical Greek or Roman or whimsical fairies and colored glass. With the right ambiance and accessories, your own backyard can be the most popular room in the house.

To learn more about retractable awnings, contact your local dealer.

Area Awning Company Wins International Award

Baltimore Awning contractor A. Hoffman Awning Company won a first place Award of Excellence for their Gazebo and Pool Shading project. The Award was presented at the 2006 Expo of the Industrial Fabric Association International held in Atlanta Georgia October 31-November 2.

For nearly 60 years, the International Achievement Awards have recognized design and technological innovation and excellence in the specialty fabrics industry. The competition received 348 entries from companies in 13 countries. Entries in 27 categories were judged by a diverse panel of industry experts, editors, architects, educators, and design professionals who were selected for their knowledge of the particular category of competition. Judging was based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness and function.

The project was entered into the competition by Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Company of Souderton, Pennsylvania, the company who made the 38 foot wide awning for A. Hoffman. The company had to overcome many challenges to install the awnings over a large pool. A boom crane was required to hoist and hold the awning, and a specially designed spreader bar cradle was used to support the awning event over the full length so it could be hoisted over the swimming pool and installed.

“We’ve installed hundreds of awnings, but this was a real challenge,” stated Jim Milburn, sales manager. “The homeowner wanted one very large awning to shade both the gazebo and the pool. We were able to create a solution that met his requirements.”

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