The Three Principles of Physics For Solar Screens

This is part 2 of a two-part series that began with Your Solar Screens Aren’t Working Correctly:

We previously addressed how your solar screen may not be functioning properly, and how understanding three basic physics principles is required to have the most energy efficient device installed on your windows. They’re right here. Checkout Phoenix Screens for more info.


  1. Heat always seeks a cooler environment. Place a room temperature spoon in a hot cup of coffee to demonstrate this. We’re all aware of what comes next. Where does the heat come from when the spoon gets warm? The heat from the hot cup of coffee sought and found relief in the metal spoon’s cooler environment.

Sun and ambient air heat is blocked, reflected, and absorbed via solarhade screens. This comprises the shade cloth as well as the frames that hold it in place. The heat is now hunting for a location to cool off. The surrounding ambient air will usually be cooler than the solar screen and frame. The heat dissipates and is facilitated by air flow in and out of the open areas of the mesh in the case of the shade cloth, assuming the fabric is 34″ – 1″ off the glass. The frames are usually mounted directly against the window frame, transferring the heat from the frames to the window frame.

As a result, the most effective location for the solar screen is on the outside, 34″ to 1″ away from the window. To eliminate this heat, the solar screen frames should ideally be separated from the window frame. When the solar screen is placed on the inside, it absorbs heat and transfers it to the inside environment, creating an uncomfortable condition.

  1. Objects with dark colours absorb more heat than those with light colours. Do you recall how this theory was introduced to us in first grade science class? We took two metal garbage can lids and painted one white and the other black. We left them out in the sun for a couple of hours before going outdoors to test the temps. The black garbage can lid was much hotter than the white trash can lid, as shown by a simple touch of the palm to the lids. The contrast between a white and a black painted automobile is another outstanding example of this. There’s also the greenhouse effect, but that’s an other topic.

For solar shade screen goods on the exterior, a darker hue is preferable. More heat will be absorbed by a dark sun screen. A light-colored solar screen is a preferable alternative for the interior. On the interior, a light-colored solar screen will reflect some heat while absorbing less. So, if you must instal interior, light colours are the way to go, but they are still not as effective as going exterior.

  1. Heat follows the path of least resistance at all times. When your solar screen collects heat as it should, it should dissipate that heat into the atmosphere. If your screen is too close to or touches the window glass, heat will be transferred directly through the glass and into the living environment. It’s simply easier for heat to do that, especially when you’re trying to keep the interior cooler than the exterior. This is an often-overlooked principle, and I sometimes wonder if manufacturers do it on purpose to avoid having to account for it in their solar heat gain calculations. I’ve even seen tests designed to take advantage of this phenomenon and utterly mislead customers, but that’s a topic for another day’s solar screen training. To summarise, a sun screen will suffice. This problem can be avoided by correctly installing a solar screen.

Contact Info

Stellar Sunscreens
12601 W Soledad St., El Mirage, Arizona 85335
Phone no: 602-488-5724