Early design decisions with regard to facade characteristics play a significant role in the resulting building's performance. In this context, external metal mesh screens - used as a permanent second facade skin - represent a rather new shading alternative, particularly in non-residential buildings. Products of this kind claim to filter excessive incident solar radiation while maintaining the transparent quality of the facade. Given the multifaceted implications of this shading device for building energy performance, a detailed simulation-based study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of metal mesh screens on annual energy demand for heating, cooling, and electric lighting in different European climate zones. Possible design variations were considered in terms of mesh screen translucency, window to wall ratio, and facade orientation. The feasibility of using such a shading strategy to provide passive cooling during summer was also explored, along with suitable ventilation scenarios. Results can help planners in their choice of the appropriate shading strategy and provide recommendations for the application of metal mesh screens according to climatic and architectural criteria.