Adding a sunroom to your home gives you a place to enjoy the bright, refreshing sunshine without venturing into the great outdoors. With their copious windows and thin walls, however, these rooms can quickly become a source of energy loss if you're not careful. Follow these tips to design your sunroom with energy efficiency in mind.
Choose low-e glass windows.
Large windows are the hallmark feature of a sunroom, and you certainly want them to let in light. What you don't want them to do is let all of your heat escape outside during the winter months. You can reduce heat loss by choosing low-e glass. This is glass that has been coated in a special metallic coating that causes it to reflect heat waves rather than allowing them to pass through. In the winter, the windows will reflect heat back into your home, and in the summer, they'll reflect heat from the sun back towards the outdoors so your sunroom does not become scorching hot. As a result, your heating and cooling bills will stay more manageable.
Note that low-e glass comes in tinted and non-tinted varieties. In your sunroom, you'll probably want the non-tinted type so that you can still bask in the natural sunshine.
Isolate the sunroom from your central HVAC system.
You'll save a lot of energy if you don't run ducts to the sunroom and attempt to heat or cool it with your central system. Just install a space heater to use as needed, and in the summer, put a fan or portable AC unit in the window. This way, you can get the sunroom to a comfortable temperature when you want to spend time out there, but you won't waste energy heating or cooling it when you're not in it.
Choose a well-insulated door.
Since your sunroom won't be heated or cooled along with the rest of your home, make sure you choose a very well insulated door for between the sunroom and the rest of the home. Wooden doors tend to be a good choice since wood is naturally a good insulator. There are also many synthetic vinyl doors with carbon fiber cores that work well for this purpose. Focus your search in exterior doors rather than on interior ones. Make sure the weatherstripping on the door extends all of the way down to the floor so cold air can't seep under the door.