Clera Windows + Doors Blog

What Is Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Why Does It Matter?

Does your home get unbearably hot in the summer but uncomfortably cold during winter? Do you constantly find yourself dealing with skyrocketing energy bills due to excessive heating and air conditioning use? When was the last time you had replacement vinyl windows?

We think it’s about time you consider updating your old windows. In this case, putting in a little effort to understand the solar heat gain coefficient or SHGC ratings when shopping for new windows can be a total game-changer.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about SHGC ratings, including:

  • Why it matters to homeowners
  • SHGC’s role in energy efficiency
  • What’s the difference between shading coefficient and solar heat gain coefficient, or SC to SHGC
  • When to choose high or low SHGC window rating

Are you ready? Let’s dig right in.

What Is Solar Heat Gain Coefficient?

Typically, you will encounter SHGC in the good performance rating stickers provided and attached by manufacturers to new windows or skylights. Along with the SHGC, this also carries valuable information about the U-factor, energy rating, and visual transmittance of the product, which are the requirements evaluated to obtain the ENERGY STAR® seal.

The SHGC rating represents a small fraction of the amount of solar radiation across the entire spectrum directly transmitted and absorbed by the glass portion of a window. This gives you an idea of the window’s performance in terms of how much solar heat and sunlight will be released inside your home. Basically, the lower SHGC glass ratings mean a window has less solar heat gain and, therefore, better shading capability.

Every Clera Window + Door meets the strict technical requirements of ENERGY STAR®, resulting in big energy savings, and a small ecological footprint.

White interiors with white replacement vinyl windows

SC to SHGC, What’s the Difference?

Previously, the industry used the shading coefficient as a measure but has since transitioned from SC to SHGC. Despite their similarities in concept, the two are different.

The SHGC rating indicates the capability of the entire window, meaning the glass and frame, to resist the heat and light from solar radiation. Meanwhile, the SC only calculates the heat gain from the glass portion of the glazing treatment of the window, excluding the frame.

SHGC Rating, Does It Matter?

The solar heat gain coefficient can provide homeowners with the knowledge of how a specific vinyl window replacement will behave in different seasons, climate, and locations. As a result, you can also expect to reap the following benefits.

A Cozy and Comfortable Home All Year Round

The SHGC can help you make excellent decisions in selecting the most appropriate type of windows for each room in your home, and therefore, prevent overheating during the summer and freezing temperatures in long winter months.

Protection From Harmful UV Rays

Despite the sun’s countless health benefits, there’s no denying that prolonged exposure to it also comes with negative side effects. Windows without proper glazing and suboptimal SHGC ratings can put you at risk to the downside of UV rays, which include sunburn, premature skin ageing, and skin cancer. In addition, your furniture, especially those made of wood and leather, can also fade out, look weathered, and worn out faster when they are exposed to harsh, direct sunlight on a daily basis.

Lower Energy and Heating Bills

Energy-conscious consumers will also be delighted with the significant return of investment it brings. By making the SHGC rating work for your advantage, you’ll be able to optimize your home’s overall energy efficiency and cut back your energy consumption as well as your utility bills effectively.

On the other hand, window SHGC ratings are also a useful tool for inspectors conducting routine energy audits.

Windows with curtain

SHGC Rating for Each Climate and Condition

In general, SHGC ratings for windows could be anywhere from 0 to 1, with 0.25 to 0.80 as the most common ratings for residential windows. The popular opinion is that the lower the SHGC, the better. But this is not always the case. There are some special instances wherein a window with a slightly higher SHGC rating would be a better fit.

To give you a better understanding of this matter, here are some basic SHGC guidelines to follow when getting replacement vinyl windows for your home.

When You Should Choose a Window with Low SHGC Rating?

If you live in a region that enjoys a warmer climate and requires the use of air-conditioning for the most part of the year, utilizing windows and skylights with SHGC rating lower than 0.30 are highly recommended. They will work best when positioned in south-facing and/or west-facing rooms areas or walls of the house, which get a full blast of the afternoon sun and which can get intense in summer.

When Is a High SHGC Rating a Good Thing?

If you live in a colder, northern climate, the priority would be to maintain a warm and comfy temperature for your home without relying heavily on heating and blowing up energy costs. This is where getting windows with a high SHGC rating of 0.40 to 0.60 would work for your benefit. Having them installed in your south-facing windows can provide a great source for passive solar heating.

Why Choose Clera Windows + Doors

To ensure that you get high-quality windows optimized for energy efficiency, Natural Resources Canada strongly recommends buying ENERGY STAR® windows, which guarantees that the products have been tested and certified for overall efficiency. However, all these product benefits will be in vain if your replacement vinyl windows are poorly installed, causing condensation, cold drafts, and even water leaks.

At Clera Windows + Doors, our team of experts provide a thorough assessment of your home and recommendations for SHGC ratings and energy-efficient windows tailormade to meet your needs and expectations. We have an extensive collection of stylish, ENERGY STAR® windows built to last you a lifetime. Our installation team is also fully Window Wise trained, certified, and bonded.

To know more about our SHGC ratings and our full range of services, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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