Question for Austin,Texas people about windows

1 Reply

I am getting ready to build a house for myself which will have quite a bit of glass in it, some of it floor to ceiling.  I would like to get something that will insulate well in the Texas heat but still have a nice design aesthetic. Does anyone have a resource that would help me navigate efficiency/aesthetic/cost 

@Lon Breitenbach  

Speak with a couple of Energy Star (or better) window manufacturers.  You can order windows with different glazings to either enhance (needed up here where we have long winters) or reduce (needed in Tx where you have ample heat) solar gain.  They can also provide coatings to reduce the amount of UV which enters (protecting your floors and furniture). 

Windows can be individually tuned at the time of manufacture to the location and exposure where they are to be installed.   Where this is your own house, I would look at the benefits of using triple glazed windows (with Argon or Krypton inert gas) to obtain a better U factor.  If this is to be your forever house, you may want to look at fibreglass framed windows as they provide a better thermal barrier and resist deformation a lot longer than vinyl ... the trade off is they are rather more expensive and the most experience manufactures {of whom I am aware} are located in Canada or Europe ... though I'm sure there must be manufacturers in the U.S.A.

Another general guideline is to use as many fixed windows as possible ... they are cheaper and more energy efficient.

Where an operable window is required, casement/awning/hopper windows are far more energy efficient than single or double hung and sliders are at the bottom of the heap.

If you take your plans and lot orientation to a fenestration specialist, they will conduct a solar profile of the property and can recommend window and door configurations for each face.   They may also recommend constructing the roof with longer eaves/overhang on the face with prevailing {summer} sun to shade the windows during mid-day {this will reduce your cooling load} and have recommendations on where to plant trees or place screens.

Your architect may have already done this in the design ... s/he would also be a good person to recommend a resource to address your fenestration needs.

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