Solar Heat Gain: What is it and How does it Affect your Home?

February 19, 2016


​We all know about UV rays and how hot the sun can make you and your home feel on a sweltering summer day. But, what is solar heat gain? Let’s take a closer look.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar heat gain coefficient (aka Solar Heat Gain or SHGC) is:
“The fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window, door, or skylight – either transmitted directly and/or absorbed, and subsequently released as heat inside a home. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits and the greater its shading ability. A product with a high SHGC rating is more effective at collecting solar heat during the winter. A product with a low SHGC rating is more effective at reducing cooling loads during the summer by blocking heat gain from the sun. Your home’s climate, orientation, and external shading will determine the optimal SHGC for a particular window, door, or skylight.”

​Simply put, solar heat gain is the amount of energy your home receives from the sun through its windows and doors. How can you measure this solar heat gain? Well, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has a voluntary program that tests, certifies, and labels windows, doors, and skylights based on their energy performance ratings.
If you’re concerned about solar heat gain, remember, you have options. You can install windows, skylights, and shade structures to help protect your home from the sun. In fact, awnings, patio covers, and drop curtains are excellent shade structures you can install on your home or business to help lower solar heat gain.


​In fact here are some statistics from the Department of Energy on how awnings can help reduce solar heat gain:

  • ​Awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows, 77% on west-facing windows. 
  • Awnings can be designed to shade one window or an entire side of the home.
  • Light colored awning fabrics reflect more sunlight.
  • Using retractable or adjustable awnings allows for versatility; you can roll up your awning in the winter and extend it in the summer.

​Ultimately, this translates into energy savings because if you reduce solar heat gain, you cut the costs associated with keeping your home or business cool.
For more information about awnings and other shade structures, contact us today. You can also visit us at You can also call us if you have any questions at 800-654-5933. Or email us at