Heat-absorbing window glazing contains special tints that change the color of the glass. Tinted glass absorbs a large fraction of the incoming solar radiation through a window. This reduces the solar heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance, and glare.
Some heat, however, continues to pass through tinted windows by conduction and re-radiation. Therefore, the tint doesn’t lower a window’s U-factor. However, inner layers of clear glass or spectrally selective coatings can be applied on insulated glazing to help reduce these types of heat transfer.
Gray- and bronze-tinted windows—the most common—reduce the penetration of both light and heat into buildings in equal amounts (i.e., not spectrally selective). Blue- and green-tinted windows offer greater penetration of visible light and slightly reduced heat transfer compared with other colors of tinted glass. In hot climates, black-tinted glass should be avoided because it absorbs more light than heat.
Tinted, heat-absorbing glass reflects only a small percentage of light, so it does not have the mirror-like appearance of reflective glass.
Note: when windows transmit less than 70% of visible light, indoor plants can die or grow more slowly.
Source: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy