Tensile membrane structures offer architects and designers a creative solution to provide an aesthetically pleasing standalone structure, or as an enhancement to another structure. They are utilized in a large variety of applications such as facades, pavilions, and canopies. During the hot summer months, people will run for shade to stay cool while outdoors. To encourage people to come outside when it is hot, many parks, public structures, and shopping plazas have incorporated tensile membrane shade structures to their site. However, the benefits of these structures have value beyond providing a cool space to spend time. There are many reasons a tensile membrane structure can be a perfect solution for a public space.
The Top 5 Biggest Benefits Of Shade Structures
- Protection from harmful UV radiation that can cause skin cancer
When the sun is beaming down on people, it can be quite uncomfortable to be outside. But worse than the discomfort of being hot is the health risk of extended UV exposure. Studies have found that PTFE can reflect 85%-97% of UV radiation, depending on the thickness of the membrane. It can also reduce the temperature under the structure by 2-12 degrees Fahrenheit, making it much safer and more comfortable to stay under. ETFE does not reduce the UV radiation, which makes it an excellent roofing material for greenhouses. It will, however, also reduce the temperature within the structure as PTFE would. PVC performs similarly to a thick PTFE membrane, absorbing 95%-99% of UV radiation.
- Keep people protected from the elements
There is nothing worse than having your planned park or shopping day get rained out. With the use of a membrane shade structure, however, you no longer have to cancel your plans. The shade structure will deflect rain, snow, and sleet, keeping the area underneath (relatively) dry. The structures are designed to redirect the water away from the covered area and to the proper drainage area. These structures are engineered to survive whatever weather is thrown it’s way, whether on the coast of Florida or the snowy plains of Saskatchewan.
- Keep equipment protected from the elements
Maybe you want to keep valuable objects and equipment protected from the elements. Shade structures can be a great solution to keep parked cars cool and safe from hail, like the series of structures on the McKinney & Olive garage in Dallas, Texas. A study by the American Meteorological Society has found the temperature of cars up to 20 degrees cooler under shade structure vs. being exposed to the sun all day. They can be used to keep exposed machinery from overheating due to direct sunlight exposure. They can be used over storefronts to reduce the heat entering the building. Keep the plastics used in playground equipment from becoming cracked and brittle under the heat while keeping the equipment nice and dry for kids to play on.
- Extend the usable time of the covered area
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a band and audience that would play an outdoor park stage in the middle of June at 2 PM. Providing that stage and viewing area with a tensile membrane structure, like the Playa Vista Bandshell in Los Angeles, California, will allow the area to be used any time of day, any time of year. Keep metal courtyard benches, picnic tables, or bleachers from burning visitors with a canopy structure. Tensile membrane structures can make the public spaces people want to be in more comfortable during all times of the day and year.
- The architectural style
An eye-catching tensile membrane structure can bring attention to any public space. The allure of a shaded area invites people to your park, building, or shopping center. The tensile membrane structure can transform a standard, un-exciting location into a landmark destination.