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How To Reduce Solar Gain In Buildings

Posted on 4th April 2023

How To Reduce Solar Gain In Buildings

What Is Solar Gain?

Solar gain, in simple terms, is how much the temperature of an interior is increased by solar radiation coming in from outside of the building. Sunlight enters living spaces through windows and the heat is absorbed into floors and walls creating a warmer environment and even storing heat energy that can be released throughout the evening when there's no longer sunlight coming into the building.

Solar gain has multiple pros but also some cons. Buildings may be designed to increase solar gain, saving on fuel energy to heat homes and commercial spaces. Yet, even in these cases, solar gain can cause problems and needs to be reduced.

In highly glazed buildings, the solar gain may have to be controlled to avoid the interior space becoming too warm. This can be done through the use of solar control coatings to lower solar radiation entering through the windows, as well as several other effective techniques to reduce solar gain.

What Are The Pros Of Solar Gain?

Solar gain is a very low-cost way of heating a building. It is also environmentally friendly. Finding ways of harnessing the power of the sun to heat our homes is something that has been an ongoing pursuit of many innovators for a long time and various solutions have been devised.

Heating and lighting a space utilising natural sunlight means using less gas and/or electricity which, with rising fuel costs, is a very attractive solution.

What Are The Cons Of Solar Gain?

In locations where weather is often unpredictable, solar gain cannot be relied upon solely to keep a home or office space warm. As it is reliant on direct sunlight, solar gain will be far less effective in non-south-facing rooms.

Solar gain can also be very intense. For instance, in a modern building with a lot of glass, it is often necessary to reduce solar gain so that the space does not become uncomfortably hot.

How Do You Reduce Solar Gain In Buildings?

There are a number of ways to reduce solar gain in a building. Most of these need to be considered in the design of a building. However, if you are living with an existing issue of solar gain heating your commercial or residential property too much, then there are also some methods to reduce solar gain in buildings that can be implemented at any time.

High Thermal Mass - reduces the immediate effects of solar gain because it stores heat energy and releases it more slowly over time. Thermal mass in buildings refers to the wall and floor spaces. So, to better control solar gain you’d opt for a design which combines glass and thermal mass.

Reflective Materials - Reflective materials built into the glass can help to reduce the solar radiation able to penetrate through.

Solar Gain Shading - If solar gain is becoming an issue and glass cannot be replaced, then shading is a good solution. Blinds, shutters and voile curtains can reduce solar gain and glare but do restrict light getting into a building. MicroLouvre is also the world’s thinnest and lightest metal louvre fabric and is being used effectively to reduce solar gain through concealed solar shading.

Ventilation - Whilst glass allows light and heat in a building it does not allow air in. Therefore, ventilation can be used to control solar gain. As heat rises, ventilation is most commonly added into roof spaces to allow hot air to escape.

Insulation - Although commonly a way to keep heat in, insulation also minimises heat getting into a building from indirect solar gain.

How MicroLouvre Is Being Used To Reduce Solar Gain In Buildings

MircoLouvre is a developed material that provides unrivalled control of heat gain. Used in commercial and residential properties to introduce an invisible barrier to solar gain, MicroLouvre is effective in dissipating the sun’s heat and managing light and glare. Find out more about how MircoLouvre can reduce solar gain.

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