Low-e vs solar gain vs window treatments
I'm building a new house in the Catskills, in upstate New York (zipcode 13756 - that puts us well within the northern heating zone.) I'm trying to decide what windows to put in, as far as energy efficiency and aesthetics. It's a partially modular build, so I think I'm limited to either Silverline or Andersen windows. It's a house with a lot of windows, mostly West facing and some South facing, so it's an important decision.
My architects are recommending getting double pane glass, no special e-coating. First, they say that they've designed the home to take advantage of passive solar gain, even in the winter months. I'm not sure I totally agree - we have one short wall of windows facing South, and the rest facing West. So, while I understand that there will be some solar gain, I'm not sure that it balances the heat lost at night, etc. (This is a vacation house, so we'll only be up on the weekends. And heating the house to some very low temperature, 50-degrees say, during the week. Not sure how that affects things one way or another.)
They also say that the low-e windows block some of the visible light, and make everything seem a little darker outside. I've checked out the windows at Home Depot, and I have to say I agree. (I love bright light, and I do notice the dimming.)
However, I'm worried that they're too concerned about aesthetics, and not being completely accurate about the advantages of low-e windows in the whole passive solar gain vs. insulation argument.
Their solution is to use regular double pane glass, and add insulating window treatments (eg, blinds or shades), that we can open during the day and close at night. That's fine when we're there. Though of course, when we're away, we'll have to leave them either open or closed for the whole week.
It's a bit complicated. Any opinions for me?