- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 08 Feb 2018
Shading coefficient for buildings
Shading coefficients can be used to describe the amount of solar heat that passes through a transparent or translucent material compared to the amount of solar heat that passes through a sheet of clear float glass with a total solar heat gain coefficient of 0.87 (i.e. a sheet of clear float glass 3 mm thick which has a shading coefficient of 1).
Solar transmittance is important for determining the solar heat gain into an enclosed space during sunny conditions. Solar heat gain can be beneficial in the winter, as it reduces the need for heating, but in the summer it can cause overheating.
The total solar heat transmittance is equal to the solar heat that is transmitted through the material directly, plus the solar heat that is absorbed by the material and then re-emitted into the enclosed space.
Shading coefficients can be measured using an illuminated hot box under simulated summer and winter conditions, and from these values, solar heat gain under a range of different conditions may be predicted using known data about solar heat gain through standard clear float glass.
This enables the behaviour of translucent or transparent materials to be predicted under different environmental conditions without having to measure the angular optical properties of every individual material.
Manufacturers are now moving towards the use of solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC) or window solar factors (g-values) rather than shading coefficients. These represent the fraction of incident solar radiation transmitted by a window, expressed as a number between 1 and 0, where 1 indicates the maximum possible solar heat gain, and zero, no solar heat gain.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Code for Sustainable Homes.
- Computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
- Emission rates.
- Energy certificates.
- Environmental legislation.
- Green deal.
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
- Light shelf.
- Low-e glass.
- Solar heat gain coefficient.
- Solar reflectance index.
- Solar transmittance (gtot).
- Thermal bridge.
- U value.
- Zero carbon homes.
- Zero carbon non-domestic buildings.
Featured articles and news
We have a great range of introductory articles written by ECA.
7 of the most common myths, busted.
Consider a career in the electrotechnical industry.
Exploring local assets of community significance. Book review.
Wood-burning stoves should not be used in thatch-roofed buildings.
Servitisation, smart systems and connectivity.
What happens to the Construction Products Regulation if there is no Brexit deal.
The first step to long-term prosperity.
The status and rights of employees in construction
Continuing to share environmental best practice.
The employee assistance programme EAP.