Glass E-Coating Considerations for Northern California’s Coastal Homes

by Doug Murray on September 21, 2011

Since cooling is not a major livability issue in most coastal or ocean-influence Northern California areas, predictably we use more energy during the winter heating cycle than for our summer cooling period. Lowering winter heating demands by allowing winter sun access to our homes’ interiors reduces the need to burn fossil fuels, thereby reducing carbon dioxide release, the main greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Window and glass manufacturers have determined their biggest market is in areas with hot summer climates which require summertime air conditioning; therefore most glass is designed for air conditioned interiors intense use. This keeps heat in, but also prevents passive solar heating by blocking winter sunlight from entering the house.

As most low-e coatings prevent heat from moving in both directions, specifying the correct low-e coating for new windows or glass doors can allow winter sun to get in while preventing heat loss back out. Many contractors, designers, and even window/glass door providers aren’t aware the majority of glass sold for residential applications blocks winter sun from entering the house, when it could be used as free supplemental winter heating.

As you can see, there are Eco-Green design strategies that work with nature just as all traditional cultures built their homes before the advent of central heating / air conditioning. Central heating and cooling are part of our modern building vocabulary. But minimizing their impact reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saving the home owner money in the long run. While most importantly, relating the house to its environment…making it a more comfortable, livable home.

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