While building a new custom home in the DFW area, you may want to consider situating the windows in such a way that they are optimized for energy-efficiency based on the climate and the position of the house on the building site. By taking these factors into account, you can use passive solar design to take advantage of the sun’s heat during cooler months, and minimize its effect during warmer months.
In the DFW area, where temperatures become particularly hot, you can position the majority of the windows north facing, or to benefit from shade trees. Putting in awnings that shade the windows – especially during the hottest parts of the day – can also help reduce the sun’s rays. And installing windows which are manufactured to minimize heat transfer can even keep the inside of the home cooler.
Windows with glass that have Low-E (low-emissivity) surface finishes, as well as tinted windows, are good options too. Low-E windows lessen infrared rays. A few of these also offer special selective coatings that let visible light through, but they are also able to block out specific wavelengths that produce heat. Window tinting can also reduce heat transfer. Blue or green tints permit the most light in, while gray and bronze tints allow for less light, so you may need to add extra lighting in the room.
On occasion, the DFW area has been known to have wintry weather. In colder climates where there are freezing temperatures, nearly all of the windows should be facing south. This layout lets light and heat through during the winter when the sun’s rays are low in the sky. During the summer months, once the sun passes directly overhead, the south-facing windows ought to be shaded with awnings or overhangs when the temperatures get very hot.
Windows facing east and west don’t offer many heating benefits when the sun is low during the wintertime, and there really isn’t a passive solar advantage to them. Strategically place the windows where they will get the best lighting and view access, and make certain they are constructed with dual or triple pane glass for optimal insulation. A house with west-facing windows can overheat quickly in the summer, so putting in windows suitable for low-heat transfer is something to consider.
While designing your new custom home you may also want to give some thought to the landscaping, which can have a direct effect on how much solar energy is needed (or is at your disposal). Planting deciduous shade trees in colder climates is a great solution for dealing with passive solar energy. They also provide plenty of shade throughout the summer season, which can help keep the house cool. As soon as the trees are bare in the wintertime, they can continue to let sunlight through the windows, supplying light and warmth to your home.
For more information about windows and solar energy, contact your local DFW home builder, Bud Bartley Family of Builders at 972-318-3802.
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