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Wind Effect on Shades – Wind on buildings and how it affects shades

wind effect on shades

As part of our service for customers, we undertake site surveys so that we can fully understand the site conditions and advise customers on the right shading solution for their needs.

One of several factors that needs to be considered is the windspeed that is present at the site and therefore the type of shading solution that is suitable for such a wind speed.

Our general rule wind effect on shades has always been:

If the shade is located near to the sea then it requires a stronger shading solution and the higher the shading the stronger the shade needs to be.

One often overlooked and hard to understand variable in this equation is the effect that neighbouring buildings can have on the windspeed at the site. Dubai and the UAE are well known for its skyscrapers and these can have a turbulent wind effect on nearby avenues and road fronts.

Glatz the Manufacturer of Sunshades provide a good video on the effects of wind on Sunshades and the relative wind strengths.

Fluid Dynamics

Studies have been undertaken using fluid dynamics to predict and show how the wind flows through a city. The below image highlights the unpredictability of wind in a city with multiple wind channels converging to create a faster wind speed. Notice how the square in the middle sees higher wind speeds in Pink.

Fluid Dynamics model between buildings
Wind Modeling in a city : https://www.mdpi.com/2220-9964/9/6/399
When multiple channels of wind converge then this increases the wind by doubling its strength. This can flow through a city into adjoining streets but also follow up the sides of tall buildings. Any shades that hang over the edge of buildings or over walls can also be effected.

So what can be done to mitigate the strong winds?

One of the challenges with site visits is that you might visit at a time when there is little to no wind and not experience the strong winds that can be generated. Therefore getting experiences with staff or persons at the site is invaluable to learning if there are any unforeseen winds that may occur. Additionally if strong winds are known then it is wise to choose shading models that can withstand such winds. These tips can help in choosing the right model if the location is windy:
  • Avoid Cantilever umbrellas
  • Use centre pole umbrellas as they are more stable
  • Use a heavy base or floor mounting options
  • Use pergolas
If awnings are required then safety features should be installed such as vibration sensors which can close the awning when heavy winds occur.  
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