Retractable awnings are now becoming very popular with homeowners in the United States. They have been popular in Europe for many years, due to higher energy costs and lack of air conditioning.
Because the canvas remained attached to the framework, retractable awnings allowed a more flexible approach to shading (shopkeepers and owners could incrementally adjust the amount of awning coverage depending upon the weather conditions). When the sun came out from behind clouds, the awning could be deployed with ease. In case of sudden storms, owners could quickly retract the awning against the building wall where it was protected from wind gusts.
This style of framed screen is typically done by professional installers, because of the specialized frames and tools required. A recent advancement is frame-less shade screens, which allows a "DIY-er" to install their own exterior shades. Solar shade screens can also be installed at the end of awnings to provide horizontal shade during early morning or late afternoon sun positions.
Modern awnings may be constructed with covers of various types of fabrics, aluminium, corrugated fibreglass, corrugated polycarbonate or other materials. High winds can cause damage to an extended awning, and newer designs incorporate a wind sensor for automatic retraction in certain conditions.