questions about pgt and impact glass in fl
I am (still) researching impact glass replacement windows for my home in Ft Lauderdale. PGT is a major player in Florida. I am however disturbed by their lack of Energy-Star rating on their impact glass Miami-Dade cert. windows. The glass is monolithic with no air space. (Perhaps monolithic is the wrong term, but I mean glass-PVB-glass all laminated together as a single slab.) I cant even find data on their website for U-factor and SHGC for these windows. The data given seems to be for their non-IG dual pane windows. And even these windows donÂt seem to have particularly good values.
In my researching I discovered that there seems to be a dispute as to the relative importance of U-factor vs SHGC in this climate. I have ZERO heating days but probably 330 cooling days and a beastly sun beating through my windows much of the year. Is low-E (or low E2) really that important in my climate? Will it keep heat out and cold in? And does anyone know where I can find data for PGT impact glass windows for U factor and SHGC? I need to replace my aged windows irrespective of getting hurricane windows, and I already have hurricane panels which are a PITA to install, but maybe I want to get regular (ie non-IG) windows installed with low-E2 dual panes and just continue to live with my old shutters. Price plays a big role here too as the IG windows are probably 3 times more than ordinary windows.
Also, can anyone give info on the benefits/drawbacks to aluminum vs vinyl windows in south Florida? Unlike the rest of the US, it seems that the vast majority of new and replacement windows here are aluminum. Yet aluminum seems pretty miserable thermally-speaking.