Controlling direct UV radiation
We control direct UV radiation by placing a barrier so that it intercepts the sun’s rays, thus creating ‘shade’. The barrier could be built or natural (such as trees and other vegetation.)

The barrier must be the right size and be located in the right place. It must allow for daily and seasonal shade movement.

The quality of the shade created depends on the properties of the barrier:
  • 'solid' or opaque barriers (such as metal roofing, structural PVC
  • fabric and dense foliage) will create dense shade and provide good
  • protection from UV radiation
  • 'open' or transparent barriers (such as natural glass, open
  • lattice or sparse foliage) will generally create light shade with limited protection - polycarbonate and treated glass are exceptions to this, as they can provide high levels of protection from UV radiation.

Built shade provides greater design possibilities, while natural shade can include the cooling effect of trees and enhance the aesthetic qualities of a site. In many situations a combination of built and natural components will be best.

In WebShade, ShadeDesign provides design guidelines for creating effective shade using built and natural shade systems and profiles the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Shade + comfort
Shade should be designed to provide comfort for outdoor spaces as well as protection from UV radiation. To do this, an understanding of the local climate of the site is necessary.

In WebShade, ShadeCalendar lets you tell the type of protective shade (warm or cool) required at your location throughout the year.
  • Cool shade - Providing shade in summer that protects against UV radiation and provides a cool environment is a high priority in most locations. Cool shade should minimise UV radiation levels and reduce heat and light. Trees and materials which significantly exclude heat and light, as well as UV radiation, are suitable.
  • Warm shade - Many locations have high UV radiation levels in autumn and spring and so providing protective shade that is comfortable when the weather is cool is a priority. Warm shade should minimise UV radiation levels, while allowing heat and light to be transmitted – this can be achieved by using materials such as polycarbonate and treated glass.