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The science behind solar heat gain is simple: The more sunlight that enters a building, the more heat that comes along with it. Unfortunately, managing solar heat gain in commercial buildings is not so simple.
A building's location, its facade relative to the angle of the sun, the time of day, the season and the countless number of products and materials used to build the exterior must all be considered.
In the winter, solar heat gain can be advantageous, serving as a replacement for a percentage of space heating to reduce energy costs. But in the summer, solar heat gain can be a threat to energy efficiency, creating higher indoor temperatures and as a result, higher cooling costs. In areas where seasons are less pronounced, managing solar heat gain is easier and achieved more frequently. However, these locations are the exception.
Windows, walls and floors all have the ability to collect, store and distribute solar energy and contribute to solar heat gain management. Project teams must carefully plan to use the right window placement and glazing types, solar shading products and thermally insulating materials. When all of these products and materials are chosen carefully, they complement each other to offer versatile and effective solar heat gain management.
When considering window glazing options, many architects and glaziers are now choosing SEFAR Architecture VISION – a metal-coated precision fabric interlayer that is laminated within glass.
In terms of solar heat gain, Vision provides thermal insulation, reducing the heat transfer of sunlight from the building's facade to its interior. Its various metal coatings – aluminum, copper, chrome and titanium – facilitate this insulation, which is measured by a solar heat gain coefficient called G-value (or Solar Factor).
G-Value is the coefficient commonly used in Europe to measure the solar energy transmittance of glass. The lower the percentage, the lower the amount of heat gained – similar to the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient value used in North America. There are 25 overall combinations of SEFAR Architecture VISION available, providing G-values from 63-32%. These combinations are derived from the metal coatings, their apertures and light transmission percentages.
While its thermal insulating qualities improve building performance and contribute to solar heat gain management, SEFAR Architecture VISION sacrifices no aesthetic. Its metal-coated fabric make-up delivers brilliant light refraction and adds unique dimension – all without impeding views from the building exterior. Vision also creates unprecedented depth and reflective quality without overwhelming glare. The result is a sophisticated and often iridescent glass façade in a wide variety of rich color tones.
When it comes to solar heat gain, the goal of architects and designers is to control it – to maximize its power in cold weather and minimize its power in warm weather; to manipulate the composition and coating of exterior glazing to optimize energy efficiency. SEFAR Architecture VISION makes this possible without artistic compromise.