Beat the Southern Heat: How New Windows Can Make Your Home More Comfortable and Energy-efficient
Not all windows are created equal. Naturally, you will need windows that suit the requirements of your home and what the climate in your area necessitates. The climate of the United States varies widely due to huge differences in latitude as well as in geographic features. Houston, Texas, for instance, is covered by the southern climate. You, as a home owner, must seek to learn more about how you can tweak your home to make it more efficient as you consider the characteristics of the southern climate — and how getting new windows can help you in this quest.
The Characteristics of the Southern Climate
Just by hearing the term southern, anyone will most likely automatically think of “warm” if not “hot.” If you came from northern or central states and just moved in to your new Houston home, you will definitely feel the difference.
Areas that experience the Southern climate generally have variable (though mostly mild) winters and hot, humid summers. Coastal cities such as Houston have an average high of 90 °Fin the months of July and August, and average lows ranging from 70 to 75 °F. Combined with moist tropical air, these temperatures can make for humid and hot weather conditions.
Meanwhile, in winter, temperature and humidity can vary more widely. In winter, daily high temperatures range from the 40 °F to 60 °F, and lows from 20 to 40 °F. Furthermore, the direction of prevailing winds changes from southerly (tropical) in summer to variable, mostly northerly (continental) from late fall to early spring (November to March).
The Role of Windows in Making Your Home More Southern Climate Friendly and Energy-efficient
Aside from enduring the wrath of the sun and the indecisiveness of wind and humidity for almost the entire year, you can also expect to pay energy bills higher than you would like to. By deciding to get new windows, you are a step closer to making your home more comfortable and energy-efficient than ever.
A good window must do three things: help keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and just generally comfortable all year. Well-insulated windows create a barrier between your indoors and the extreme exterior temperatures. They can also improve ventilation and airflow, reducing moisture buildup in the process.
Better energy efficiency
As you feel cooler on warm days and warmer on cold days because of your new windows, you can now stop putting your heating and cooling equipment to hard work. Additionally, you can also benefit from the natural lighting that specially-coated windows let in without worrying about harmful ultraviolet rays (you can now turn those lights off!). Replacing your old windows can lower the costs of energy bills by at least 25% and you can enjoy the return on your investment in no time.
The Best Windows for the Southern Climate
With today’s technology, manufacturers are able to develop windows with features and properties that make them suitable for various applications and climates.
When shopping for new windows and looking to make the most out of their energy efficiency benefits, you must take a look at these energy rating coefficients:
- U-Factor (Thermal Transmittance) – This measures the rate of heat loss through a window; the lower, the better.
- SHGC (Solar Heat Gains Coefficient) – This indicates the fraction of incident solar radiation that goes through a window; the lower, the better (in hot climates, choosing windows with the lowest possible SHGC is more advantageous).
- Condensation Resistance – This measures a window’s resistance to formation of condensation between panes; the higher, the better.
- Visible Transmittance – This measures the visible light transmitted through the window. In the southern climate, a low VT is recommended for controlling glare and daylight better.
Aside from these factors, it’s also best to go for windows with heat-blocking Low-E (low emissivity) glass. This type of window glass has special coatings that improve insulation further.
About the Author
Dennis Rupp lives in Cypress, Texas. He is currently working as Marketing Supervisor at Renewal by Andersen of Houston. His expertise in home designing as a student at the University of Houston has exposed him to the many facets of the industry. This collection of experiences plus his gained knowledge in roofing has also brought him to a 35-year journey in the field, earning the trust of his colleagues and the people he’s worked with. He’s fond of the outdoors that’s why he goes on camp twice a month.