If you’re planning a major window project this summer, don’t settle for just any window for your home. When it comes to replacing old windows, it’s important to learn how you can maximize their energy efficiency. Efficient windows help improve your home’s indoor comfort while lowering your monthly utility bills and reducing your carbon footprint. To determine which are the best windows for your home, you need to learn a bit more about how an energy-efficient window is designed and built.
As you talk to window installation contractors and learn about their products, you may encounter certain technical terms that are often used by professional window contractors. Solar heat gain, in particular, is just one of several commonly used terms in window replacement so, as a homeowner, you need to understand how it impacts your home.
How Solar Heat Gain Works
To understand how solar heat gain works, let’s look at how solar heat gain coefficient is calculated. Also known as SHGC, it determines how much solar radiation is admitted through a door, window or skylight. This is essentially the amount of the sun’s energy that turns into heat when it passes through your windows. This is similar to how a greenhouse works, as sunlight either bounces off or passes through when it hits the windows. You’ll find this rating on most ENERGY STAR®-certified windows. Lower numbers mean that the window allows less solar radiation and heat inside.
Of course, light still falls on the objects inside your home and the heat warms them up, which then warms up the indoor air. If you install windows with a high SHGC rating, they let in a lot of sunlight, while those with a low SHGC rating let in less light and heat. How much light and heat you want to let in will depend on your needs and preferences, so make sure to consult trusted window installation contractors to make an informed decision.
Can Solar Heat Gain Benefit Your Home?
As one of the area’s top window installation companies, we recommend considering what you’re aiming for in your home when choosing a product. Whether or not solar heat gain is bad or good depends on your needs and preferences. For instance, solar heat gain can be a big benefit during winter, since sunlight can stream through high-transmission windows and warm up your home naturally. This means you won’t have to rely as much on your heating system, but then it can also mean you’ll need to crank up your air conditioning system to deal with the extra heat coming in during the summer months.
Keep in mind that you need to reduce solar heat gain in the warmer months and increase it during winter to achieve optimum energy efficiency. If you want to lower your cooling bills during the summer, consider getting windows that have a low SHGC rating.
Managing Your Home’s Solar Heat Gain
Of course, there are other ways to reduce solar heat gain, regardless of whether you get windows that have a high or low SHGC rating. This can be done by installing shade structures such as an awning to protect your home from the sun’s heat. You can’t use just any fabric for your shade structure, however; according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), opaque and tightly woven textiles help reflect more sunlight to reduce solar heat gain.
Choosing the Right Window
An important factor to consider when dealing with solar heat gain involves choosing the right window for your home. As a trusted name among window manufacturers, we recommend that you learn about the other ratings typically found on ENERGY STAR-certified windows. They measure how a window performs in different categories so that you get a clear idea of the benefits for your home.
- U-Factor (Range: 0.20 to 1.20) – This indicates the rate of heat transfer and how well the window insulates. Lower numbers mean the window has better insulation.
- Visible Transmittance (Range: 0 to 1) – This refers to the amount of light the window allows to pass through it. A low number means the room will be dimmer.
- Condensation Resistance (Range: 1 to 100) – This indicates how the window resists moisture build-up. Lower numbers mean more condensation will build up on the window.
- Air Leakage – This indicates how much air passes through the window’s joints. The lower the number, the more airtight the window product. However, ENERGY STAR standards don’t consider air leakage because it’s hard to make an accurate measurement as window frame materials tend to expand, contract and warp over time.
If you’re looking to hire window manufacturers for your next replacement project, Window World of Boston has you covered. Call us today at (781) 262-3925 if you’re in Woburn, (781) 343-7129 if you’re in Pembroke or (508) 845-6676 if you live in Shrewsbury. You can also fill out our convenient online form!