In remodeling for energy efficiency, one goal is to keep sunshine off of windows and, thus, keep heat gain from entering a southern home for the majority of the year.
The ideal window situation in a DFW home would be to have:
1. No west windows.
2. East windows covered in such a way as to have no sunshine on windows after 10 am in the morning–winter or summer.
3. South windows covered in such a way as to have no sunshine on windows except from the middle of November to possibly the end of February.
4. North windows do not have enough solar heat load to worry about.
Unfortunately, architects and builders did not (and many still do not) consider solar heat gain when designing and building homes in North Texas.
Now we are looking for ways to keep sun from shining on those windows.
Solarscreens that intercept solar radiation, or films that prevent infrared andultraviolet transmission while allowing good visibility, are useful retrofitsfor hot climates, as are awnings.
Inexisting buildings, vegetative shading options are generally feasible. Trees (normally deciduous) are a wonderful solution but trees take years to grow and Texas electric bills are climbing today!
One quick answer to the problem is to place a large potted plant such as a banana plant outside a south or west window in summer. Place it between the sun and the window, then check occasionally to move the plant to follow the path of the sun.
A window trellis outside a south window with summer vines to block the heat is one solution. The vines die down in winter allowing the heat in the home.
If you put a trellis in front of a west window, it would probably be wise to plant an evergreen vine on it.
Again, the primary purpose is to stop sunshine from entering the windows. Once inside the window, the heat is in the home and will not leave the home.
Is it necessary to replace windows?
Probably not unless you replace west windows with low-e windows–the kind that keeps heat out of homes.
More information about windows and remodeling here and here.
Do you need an energy consultant, energy auditor, green builder, or green remodeler in North Central Texas or the Dallas-Fort Worth area? Are you purchasing or building a home? Ready to add renewable-energy? Interested in living more sustainably? Contact Terry Jensen Frugal Energy, LLC 972 251-1532 or 817 443-2553 Just have a question or two? Please call. If I can answer without seeing your home or business, I will do so at no charge.
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