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How to Select Windows for Passive Solar Design

Ottawa can get very cold during the winter. That tends to mean higher heating costs as you try to stay warm and comfortable. One way to help is to build a house that takes advantage of the sun’s solar radiation to help heat your home through passive solar design.  


Photo of a red brick house with many windows

What is “Passive Solar Design”? 

Passive solar buildings are built to take advantage of the sun’s heat during the winter. They have windows on the south side that are made to capture the sun’s heat as much as possible during the cold months.  


These houses are designed to catch the sun when it’s lower in the sky in the winter, while using overhangs and shading systems to provide shade and keep the house cool during the summer when the sun is higher up in the sky. This helps to reduce your energy consumption by using the natural sun to regulate temperature better.  


Basically, the house is built for the winter sun!  


How Do You Choose Windows to Fit? 

When you’re trying to select windows for a passive solar design in Ottawa, there are many different things you need to consider. You need to factor in things such as window size, placement, and style. For example, you cannot very well capture a lot of the sun’s light if you have smaller windows, but at the same time, windows that are too large are likely to radiate the heat right back out. Meanwhile, low-E windows are a great option for passive solar design.  


However, the most important thing you need to pay attention to is the Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient Rating (SHGC).  


Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient Ratings 

A SHCG Rating measures how much solar radiation can pass through a window or skylight. This rating is used to help understand the energy efficiency of a window.  


It is best thought of as a ratio where 1 is the maximum amount of solar energy allowed through and 0 is the least possible amount.  


Low-E Windows 

Building a passive solar design means you’ll want to minimize energy loss wherever you can but also have windows that allow the sun’s warmth to enter your home. That makes low-E windows a great option. Low-E windows, or low-emissivity windows, are windows with coatings designed to reduce the amount of UV and infrared light that enters your home without blocking out natural light.  


Low-E windows come in two different styles: hard coat and soft coat. When looking for windows that work with a passive solar design, you should look at hard coat, as they allow some of the sun’s short-wave infrared into the house, which helps to heat your home in the winter, while still reflecting the interior long-wave heat energy back inside.  


Call Canadian Comfort for Low-E Window Installation in Ottawa 

When you’re thinking about passive solar design, let Canadian Comfort be your guide. We offer low-E windows in Ottawa so you can take advantage of the sun’s heat to keep you warm and cozy even in the coldest winter months.  


Contact us today for more information. 


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