Problem Solver - August 2009
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Providing Flexible Shade Options

There's been a growing awareness about the dangers of too much sun exposure. That means more people are looking to protect themselves by applying sunscreen and seeking out shady places.

Whether they're picnicking in the park, waiting for their turn at bat or lazing by the pool, patrons will be grateful when you provide shade. Shade canopies provide an excellent, flexible solution. They are available in many colors and designs, too, so you can add a unique aesthetic element to your site.

Q: Is there a permanent, cost-effective solution?

A: Fabric shelters and canopies are often less expensive than wood or metal shelters. They provide shade quickly, offer a cool spot out of the sun and feature sturdy metal frames and construction. The fabric, polyethylene shade canopies can block up to 99 percent of UV rays, while keeping patrons cool. The canopies' permeability allows air to pass through, which means the air temperature under a fabric canopy can be 15 to 20 degrees cooler in the summer than the surrounding temperatures.

If you're adding shade to your playground, you should be aware that canopies are available that will help extend the life of your playground equipment, as UV rays can cause powder-coat finishes and plastics to deteriorate more quickly.

Another benefit the canopies provide is the ease of removal when nasty weather threatens. Some canopies are so simple a single person can quickly and easily attach or remove the canopy.

Q: We don't want to install a permanent structure. What should we look for?

A: You can find umbrellas made of the same cooling material that will still protect patrons from up to 99 percent of UV rays. But unlike the more permanent shade structures, these umbrellas can be collapsed and moved around, providing a convenient option for outdoor facilities that want portable shade.

With an innovative crank mechanism, a single person can quickly and easily collapse the umbrella to a folded position. With framed constructed of heavy gauge aluminum tubing and stainless steel components, the umbrellas are strong, yet light enough to be moved easily.

Shade Systems Inc.: 800-609-6066