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SHGC vs. U-Value: The Essentials of Choosing Windows

You must consider many factors when selecting the perfect windows. Many people may find the difference between a window’s SHGC rating and U-value confusing. After reading this post from renowned local window contractor Renewal by Andersen® of Kansas City, it would be easy to differentiate them.


  • SHGC: A window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) indicates how effectively solar radiation can pass through and warm the interior space.

  • U-Value: U-value measures a window’s ability to retain or keep inside heat and cooling. A low U-value reflects windows with higher insulating capabilities over any given climate’s seasons.



While each rating indicates the window’s overall energy efficiency, the purpose and meaning of SHGC and U-Value couldn’t be more different.

SHGC ratings shows how much solar radiation can get through your windows, while U-value figures tells you how well they will retain interior temperatures already present in your home.

Measurement Units

Each measurement has a unit corresponding to its calculated value. SHGC is measured as either 0 – 1 or decimal percentages, for example, 0.25 or 25%.

Alternatively, lower U-value ratings ensure less heat loss after home improvement, which is essential for homes in hotter regions.


Regarding specific characteristics, windows with high SHGCs may allow too much heat into a room on hot days, which can cause overheating during summer but is ideal during winter and in colder regions of the country.

It’s ideal to have windows with low U-value than otherwise. Windows with high ratings have poor insulating capabilities. Using them will increase your winter heating costs and the risks of unwanted drafts around vulnerable openings.

Choosing the right window for your home should include an assessment of both SHGC and U-value ratings. If you need help determining the right windows, the experts at Renewal by Andersen of Kansas City would be happy to help. We also offer high-quality replacement doors along with our quality windows. Call us at (913) 956-0887 or fill out this contact form to get an estimate. We proudly serve homes in Kansas City.

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