Solar Heat Gain: What Is It and Why Should We Care?

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Posted by Craig Zola on Sep 20, 2016 4:39:36 PM
Topics: Awning Fabrics

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So what exactly is solar heat gain and why should you care? We already know that the sun emits harmful UV rays, but did you know that the sun’s heat can raise or lower your energy bills?
First, let’s define what solar heat gain is. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), solar heat gain coefficient (aka Solar Heat Gain or SHGC) is how much solar radiation is admitted through a window, door, or skylight. This solar radiation is transmitted directly or absorbed and released as heat inside a home or building.

So why is this so important? Let’s think about it this way: your home is like an oven. The more heat it gains, the hotter it gets. Thus, if you want to lower your cooling bills, you want to lower your solar heat gain. To do this you should install windows, skylights, and shade structures to help shade and protect your home or building from the sun’s heat.

If you install a shade structure like an awning, it’s important to choose the right fabric. The kind of fabric you use can affect solar heat gain. In fact, according to the DOE, using opaque and tightly woven textiles help reflect more sunlight which reduces solar heat gain.

Herculite Inc.’s shade structure textiles are designed to shade your home and help reduce solar heat gain. The type of specialty fabric used in the construction of awnings and patio covers matter. Using something that is not designed to withstand the elements can cost you in the long run and may not reduce solar heat gain efficiently.

When choosing an awning or other shade structure, ask your manufacturer about the type of fabric being used. Remember, you want to use something like Herculite’s awning fabrics which are:

  • Fire Resistant
  • Water Proof
  • Heat Sealable
  • Stain and Mildew Resistant
  • Dimensionally Stable
  • Scratch Resistant
  • Feature an 8-year warranty
  • American Standard 62" Width
  • Engineered in America

According to the DOE, awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. That’s a lot of heat! So remember, in order to reduce SHGC you need to be conscientious about the type of windows, shade structures, and skylights you install. If in doubt, look at the label on your ENERGY STAR® certified product, it will tell you the energy performance rating of what you’re about to buy.

Now that you know how awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer, download our free guide, "Five Factors to Consider when Determining Awning Quality"

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Topics: Awning Fabrics