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How to Choose the Right Windows for Hot Climates


on December 4, 2017

Window glass for hot climates

For those who live in hot and desert climates, especially in the Southwest United States, finding quality windows that can withstand the heat can be difficult and stressful.

You want a window that will last a long time, not let in much heat in the daytime, but also maximize natural light. That’s harder than it sounds! Some windows don’t work as well to block the heat of the sun or keep out any ultraviolet rays, which warms up your house and leads to increased cooling costs.

Whether you’re considering a window replacement now or in the near future, here’s some advice to help you choose the right window for your home.  

Window glass for desert

Buy Low-E Glass Windows

Low-E glass stands for low emissivity glass. It has a coating that helps block out a substantial portion of ultraviolet (UV) light and infrared (IR) light, while allowing the majority of visible light to pass through. Controlling and blocking IR light lessens the passage of heat through your window.

When it comes down to it, Low-E glass can help maintain your home's temperature, and increase energy efficiency. Low-E glass windows are becoming increasingly popular, especially in hot climates, because they help to keep harmful UV light and heat out.

Triple pane glass

Consider Multi-Pane Glass Windows

Using double-pane or triple-pane glass windows can help you save energy. Why? Because between each pane various gases can be put in to create insulation. Argon is a common gas used in multi-pane windows, because it’s very efficient and affordable. These energy efficient windows help lower your heating and cooling costs.

Understanding glass ratings

Understand U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and Visible Transmittance

Do you know what any of those terms mean? It’s okay if you don’t! Each of these terms appear on the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label on NFRC rated windows. Reputable window manufacturers rate and certify their products with these requirements. Let’s define each one of them.


U-Factor measures the rate of heat flow through the window. The lower the number on the NFRC label, the better the window is at keeping heat in.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

SHGC tells you how much solar heat comes through the window. The lower the number, the less solar heat comes in.

Visible Transmittance (VT)

VT is how much natural light the window lets in during the daytime. The higher the number, the more natural light you’ll get.

Climate zone map

Walking Through Your Completed Project

For hot and desert climates in the Southwest, you’ll want to look for windows that have a low U-Factor number, a low SHGC number, and a high VT number. That way, your window can let in the natural light while reducing solar heat compared to a window with a higher SHGC.
Best windows for hot climates

Try the Pella SunDefense

Adam Homer with Pella Windows and Doors Mountain West recommends this window for people living in hot climates:

“For the desert Southwest, we recommend the SunDefense glass with argon. This glass has SunDefence Low-E glazing with Argon gas between. It will reflect the light and heat out, helping to protect your furniture and your home from UV light.”

Watch the full video to learn more about the Pella SunDefense.

Now that you know the right window options for your home to beat the heat, it’s time to find the right window. Do your research and choose a quality window that can keep the heat out, but bring the light in.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.