A sunroom is a great way to provide additional space for a home that will be filled with light. There's nowhere better for reading, socializing and lounging than a sunroom.
SUNROOM LOCATION IS KEYSince your sunroom will receive a lot of light, special consideration should be given as to where you build it and which direction it faces.
A north facing sunroom is not ideal unless your home is in the southern hemisphere. A south facing sunroom will receive light all day long, which will be wonderful in the winter but will likely require window blinds to provide respite in the summer. An east facing sunroom will provide wonderful light at sunrise, and west facing beautiful sunsets. Of course, you’re likely to have three exterior walls, so all of the above will likely be of consideration when you build your new sunroom.
Energy Efficiency, even with a sunroom
For heating and cooling, installing a mini-split HVAC system is a good option to consider since it can be controlled separately from the existing HVAC system, and will not require tying into and possibly upgrading, or reducing the efficiency of your existing system.
Choose Sunroom Windows Carefully
Regarding the type of windows to install, Low E glass will reduce fading of furniture and flooring, but it will also reduce solar gain. Therefore, it is best utilized in high sun exposure, and clear glass is best used in north facing exposures to maximize solar gain. Most window manufacturers, however, do not offer clear glass anymore, so if you want operational windows that will allow ventilation and a cross breeze, you’ll likely only have Low E options to choose from.
Direct set windows are alternative to operational windows that in most cases are also less expensive, and can be purchased in both Low E and clear glass. It may be that a combination of direct set and operational windows is the best choice for your new sunroom. If budget is a driving factor, consider utilizing stock sizes as much as possible for the operational windows to minimize cost increases from custom sized openings.
All of the window panes be they direct set or operational should be insulated, meaning that they are constructed with two panes of glass and air space in between the panes. Insulated glass panes will have a much greater thermal performance than traditional single pane windows, and help make the sunroom more comfortable in both summer and winter. Using argon gas in place of air also improves the panes insulating properties, and like Low E is mainly the standard for most manufacturers.
Once you’ve decided which site of your home to build your new sunroom, take time to consider the number and type of windows that will work best for each face of your sunroom, and what time of day you’ll likely use the room most.