August 18, 2022

Design Trend: Using Timber Solar Shading for Architectural Glazing

Written by Rebecca Clayton

boathouse with timber solar shading wooden cladding

How timber solar shading solutions can be integrated with architectural glazing. 

vertical timber louvres for solar shading in new build dwelling

There are many ways to incorporate timber solar shading into a new build house design or enhance existing designs by including timber shading solutions in a renovation project. Timber is an extremely popular choice for use with architectural glazing, creating a contrast of materials and helping highly glazed homes blend into their natural surroundings. Timber solar shading has become a huge trend in the architectural landscape, growing in popularity due to the sustainable properties of timber and the demand for biophilic design qualities.  

Keep reading for our guide to using timber solar shading for architectural glazing.  


What is Solar Shading Architecture? 

When embarking on any new build or renovation project, one aspect that must always be considered is the amount of light and heat that is able to enter the building.

Not only does this have to be considered from an aesthetic perspective, because nobody wants a dark house, but functionality is also key. You can enhance the functionality of a home with strategic placement of glazing, capitalizing on solar gain and controlling heat loss to save money on heating and cooling costs in the long run.  

timber shading overhang in gable end window design

Solar shading is an integral part of any architectural design, protecting the homeowners and preventing the internal living space from overheating or causing discomfort.

There are many different ways to incorporate solar shading both externally and internally, depending on the project type and desired finish.

Where minimally framed or frameless glazing is used, minimal shading solutions should be considered to ensure the glazing design remains uninterrupted.  

If possible and depending on the location of the dwelling, you can utilise natural shading provided by trees or nearby woodlands.

sliding timber shutters in modern barn conversion

Where natural shading is not possible, consider using natural materials such as timber to provide a shading solution in the form of overhangs, louvres or external timber shutters.  

One project that paired timber solar shading with minimal glazing was Perham Farm, a barn conversion in Taunton that used timber sliding shutters to provide shading and privacy to the oversized sliding glass doors. The timber shutters allow the modern farm building to retain some of its rustic charms, whilst being paired with modern glazing systems that offer enhanced performance values throughout the year.  


Why Use Timber Solar Shading With Architectural Glazing 

One of the main reasons timber is so popular is due to its character, changing over time, unlike other materials which are homogenous. When using timber solar shading louvres, each piece of timber behaves differently and is completely unique. Whilst timber is perfect for an authentic design, it is also well suited to rustic barn conversion projects and contemporary new build homes.  

timber louvres for solar shading on sustainable new build

Another project that utilizes timber shading is Stone Haven, a sustainable new build in Cornwall that is split in half with half the design using timber cladding and timber louvres. Timber solar shading louvres are positioned over the large frameless windows to provide shade when required without disrupting the sustainable design.

Timber finishes have been brought over the fixing details of the architectural glazing to create a seamless finish, whilst the timber cladding wraps around the roof for a coherent design.  

Timber solar shading is 100% renewable, making it the only choice for built in solar shading when building a sustainable home. Because of the versatility of timber as a material, different species of wood can be used to achieve different tones and colour schemes as well as different textures, with hard and soft timber species available. For centuries timber has been an integral part of the building scope, now more than ever due to the developed finishes that it can be specified with, such as blackened timber finishes.  

sliding glass doors with timber shading louvres

Many of our projects utilise horizontal timber shading to soften the wider building design, particularly in highly glazed buildings that use oversized glazing solutions.

Incorporating timber solar shading should be considered at the earliest stage of a project to ensure any timber elements, whether horizontal or vertical, are aligned with the interlocking sections of the glazing.

Our Treeside project uses vertical timber beams to provide solar shading to the slim framed sliding doors, which are aligned with the timber to ensure the sightlines were as minimal as possible to preserve the views from inside.  


Contemporary Homes With Timber Shading Overhangs 

timber shading overhang on private balcony new build

A timber shading overhang may be required to meet the requirements of Building Regulations Part O, which tackles overheating in new build dwellings. Part O dictates how much glazing can be included in the building design and what performance requirements must be met to prevent overheating.

Highly glazed façade designs can be specified in conjunction with timber shading overhangs to control the solar glare and control the solar gain, thus reducing the internal temperature within the home.  

One of our new build projects in Hertfordshire, La Madonnina, used timber throughout the wider design, allowing the angular new dwelling to blend into the woodland surroundings. On this occasion, the roof has been designed to hang over the private balcony areas on the first floor and the timber shading overhang blends in with the sloping roof design, using the same materials and colour palette. The vertical timber cladding contrasts the slim framed sliding doors to create a unique, indoor-outdoor style of living.  

contemporary new build with timber solar shading overhang

Treeside, a contemporary new build in Surrey, features a protruding timber overhang that offers shading for the sliding glass doors. The protruding timber forms a box structure, surrounding the glazing and offering dappled shade throughout the day to reduce the internal temperature when the sun is shining. This innovative way of using a timber shading overhang becomes a design feature within the eclectic new build, creating patterns of shade whilst enhancing the functionality of the architectural glazing.  


You can get in touch with us to discuss project requirements and how to specify timber systems to enhance your glazing, from horizontal timber shading to timber solar shading louvres.  

Speak to a member of the team today about using timber solar shading with your architectural glazing.