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So, you are in the market for new windows in your home or building and have heard the term solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) thrown around. But what exactly does this mean and what SHGC should you be looking for in your windows?

First, let’s define SHGC. It measures how much solar radiation is transmitted through windows and converted into heat inside a building. The SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the less solar heat is transmitted through the window and the higher the number, the more solar heat is transmitted through the window.

In general, the SHGC you want in your windows depends on your location and climate. For example, in a hot and sunny climate, like Arizona, you may want a lower SHGC to minimize the amount of solar heat that enters your home and reduces the workload on your air conditioner. In a colder climate, like Minnesota, you may want a higher SHGC to increase the amount of solar heat that enters your home and reduces the workload on your furnace.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, windows with an SHGC of 0.25 to 0.30 are ideal for cooling-dominated climates, while windows with an SHGC of 0.60 to 0.70 are ideal for heating-dominated climates. Of course, there are many other factors to consider when selecting windows, like the type of glazing, frame material, and installation.

It’s also worth noting that windows with a low SHGC can be treated with shading devices, like shades or blinds, to further reduce the amount of solar heat that enters a building. Similarly, windows with a high SHGC can be used strategically to maximize the amount of solar heat that enters a building during the colder months.

When shopping for windows, it’s important to work with a reputable company that can help you select the right windows for your climate and needs. Companies like Andersen Windows and Pella offer a wide range of windows with different SHGC values and other features to meet your specific needs.

In conclusion, the ideal SHGC for your windows depends on your location and climate. If you live in a hot and sunny climate, aim for a lower SHGC to minimize solar heat gain, and if you live in a colder climate, aim for a higher SHGC to maximize solar heat gain. Work with a reputable company to select the right windows for your needs and don’t forget to consider other factors, like glazing, frame material, and installation.