Choose Windows That Minimize Solar Gain
Make the right decision when choosing between high and low solar-heat gain glazing.
It’s essential that we make the right decision when choosing between glazing with high solar-heat gain and glazing with low solar-heat gain. That decision has gotten trickier lately, especially since Gary Proskiw’s calculations have called into question the entire idea that south-facing windows are heat-collecting devices. In response, some designers have abandoned the idea of orientation-specific glazing requirements and now advise that all windows should have a low solar heat-gain coefficient (SHGC).
In a 2014 article, building scientist Joseph Lstiburek addressed passive-solar design principles with his characteristic bluntness: “Don’t bother with the passive solar. Your house will overheat in the winter. Yes, you heard that right. Even in Chicago … You should go with very, very low SHGCs, around 0.2, in your glazing … You want to collect solar energy? Leave that to the PV.”
This short article was written to accompany this one on passive-solar design.