Sick of constantly turning up the heat in the dead of Northeastern winters? For Chester County and Delaware residents, sometimes it’s so cold that even the most effective artificial heat sources still leave you with a chill to the bone. There’s no better medicine to this lingering freeze than some good old sunshine.
Sun won’t just thaw you out and offer that nourishing vitamin D, but also help lower your heating costs. With some south-facing windows and a solar heat gain strategy, you can use the sun to help heat your home in an earth-friendly and affordable way.
You won’t have to build your home from scratch or go through extensive renovations, either–the concept of solar tempering includes increasing energy efficiency by using the heat of the sun without increasing the number, size, or cost of the windows.
When you stand in front of a window and feel the warmth of the sun, you are experiencing the benefits of solar heat gain. You can feel the heat of the sun shining on you, and if you touch the window, you may also feel that the glass is warm.
Solar heat gain is when the heat of the sun, in the form of solar radiation, comes into your home in two ways. The heat can come through the window directly, or it can be absorbed into the glass (also called glazing) and then released as heat into your home.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) runs an energy-efficiency rating program to test and certify doors, windows, and skylights according to their performance. Because of this program, consumers can find energy performance ratings, including U-factor and solar heat gain coefficients, on windows as they shop.
The NFRC uses several factors in creating a rating label for the windows you’re considering, so it’s important to understand how to read energy-efficiency labels. Specifically, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) refers to how well a window blocks heat from the sun. The rating is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. A rating of 0.35 means that 35% of the available solar heat can pass through the window. In other words, the higher the number, the more heat will come through the window.
If you are looking to increase the amount of solar gain so that you can lower heating costs in the winter, then you’ll want to shop for windows with a higher SHGC for the south-facing exterior walls of your home. Since these windows will also let in more heat in the summer, there are some other factors to consider.
The sun travels through the sky at a lower angle in the winter, which allows for the sun to shine farther into the house. Maximum winter passive solar gain can be accomplished by having unobstructed windows on the south side of the house between about 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. This allows the house to get the full benefit of the brightest part of the day.
Since the sun is higher in the sky in the summer, you can strategically place awnings and overhangs on the windows to easily block the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the fall and allow the sun to reach your windows, can create further shade during the summer when they bear leaves so that the house doesn’t overheat.
Blinds and shutters are also options, but keep in mind that they will obstruct your view of the outdoors while they are in use. During the winter, however, insulated blind systems are useful in decreasing the amount of heat loss through the windows overnight.
Here at Advance Inc., we offer windows from the best brands in the industry. Offering energy-efficient options from companies like Anderson AW, Okna, Vytex,Starmark Composite Windows, Provia, and more, we ensure Northeastern residents can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer with the power of solar heat gain.
Our trained consultants can come to your home to help you assess your options for solar heat gain strategy and choose the perfect windows for your needs. Going green and saving money on bills has never been so easy.
Contact us today to use solar heat gain to your advantage.