Featured in Energy Saving Houses During Solar Decathlon 2009
October 23, 2009
Glass products were a main feature in many of the energy-efficient
houses in the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Competition on the
National Mall, which took place last week in Washington, D.C.
For the Iowa State University team, use of glass helped connect
inhabitants with the outdoors.
|The public tours the international U.S. Department
of Energy Solar Decathlon, featuring energy-efficient, solar-powered
houses built by 20 university teams from North American and
Europe, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Stefano
Paltera, courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
"The entire center module allows the house to transform and
expand into the landscape," says Jennifer Ross, project architect.
"The concept of the landscape systems and their reciprocal
relations with the house creates a richer atmosphere for living."
To connect the inside and out the team used a six-panel NanaWall
HSW50 individual panel sliding system in powder-coated aluminum,
a four-panel SL70 powder-coated aluminum folding system and a four-panel
NanaScreen. Toronto-based Inline Fiberglass Ltd.'s low-iron, krypton-filled
325 series windows were used throughout and a skylight from BioBased
Insulation LLC added to the use of natural daylighting. Yale Commercial
Locks and Hardware supplied much of the hardware.
Operable louvers from LouvreTec provided shading when needed-while
louvers from Power Film Inc. helped provide some of the energy for
the house. The louvers covered with thin film photovoltaic (PV)
used dampers and balancing fluids to passively track the sun.
The Iowa State house also incorporated recycled glass within the
kitchen and bathroom countertops courtesy of Liquid Stone.
|Automated external shading and krypton-filled
glass help insulate Team Ontario/BC's solar-powered house. Photo
by Stefano Paltera, courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy Solar
Team Cornell also featured a number of products supplied by NanaWall
"NanaWall has been one of the central design elements and
unique features in all three Cornell University Solar Decathlon
team houses," says Chris Werner, an architecture team leader
for CUSD. "In the 2009 design, NanaWall allows us to open the
entire living space into the central exterior courtyard. One of
the core concepts of the house is the interplay of interior and
exterior space. The house will nearly double in size when the NanaWalls
The 2009 house used eight NanaWall units-two WD 65 inward/outward
cornerless folding units with low-E glass to open the interior of
the house into the exterior courtyard, allowing for cross-ventilation
and interior-exterior spatial fluidity, as well as four WD68TT tilt
turn windows and two WD68F fixed windows. In several rooms, the
house also features Velux electric skylights with dynamic glazing.
Roof-mounted PV collectors also help to power the house.
The Penn State team made a big effort to maximize daylighting and
passive solar gain in the design of its house. Clerestory windows
and tri-fold doors on the southern façade provide ample daylight
throughout the year. When these doors are open to the deck, the
living space expands to the outdoors. Solar Innovations supplied
a folding glass door for the living room, while Traco supplied numerous
aluminum casement and fixed windows. Exterior shading devices supplied
by Construction Specialties Group and Solar Power Industries combined
operable shading with PV modules.
|Students of Team California celebrate the
first-place victory of their solar-powered house in the Architecture
Contest. Photo by Stefano Paltera, courtesy of U.S. Department
of Energy Solar Decathlon.
The University of Kentucky team's house was a rectangular building
with a central open space that naturally ventilates the house on
sultry summer days. A sky-viewing ribbon of continuous clerestory
windows around the top of each wall offers light and a spacious
feel. Schuco supplied those aluminum-framed, argon-filled triple-insulating
units. Several of the windows as well as skylights the company provided
not only let in the light but provided parts of the solar power
needed. The design team integrated PV panels in two different ways.
First, the team developed a solar roof that both shades the insulated
thermal roof and generates energy for use in the home. Second, they
placed panels on the south facade as a rain screen. Replacing standard
building materials with PV panels helped offset the cost of construction
in standard building projects. Schuco's ProSol solar modules were
fabricated as a laminated IGU.
Electronically tintable glazing also is featured in the east, west
and south walls to help offset the detrimental effects of untimely
solar heat gain. Hafele supplied the house's exterior door hardware.
|People take a look inside the house of Technische
Universität Darmstadt, Germany. Photo by Stefano Paltera,
courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Team Ontario/British Columbia set out to tailor its house to the
Canadian climate, meaning a different approach to passive solar
heating and solar electric panels. The team could not count on much
power from rooftop panels in the winter but could make good use
of low-angle sun for much of the year. Thus, the south, east and
west sides of North House have floor-to ceiling windows framed by
vertical PV panels.
Highly insulating, quadruple-glazed, floor-to-ceiling windows and
vertical PV panels on south, east and west sides work to capture
the northern latitude winter sun. The windows use 3/8-inch laminated
glass supplied by Pilkington and fabricated by Galt Glass in Cambridge,
Ontario. Other technologies include automated exterior shading for
the floor-to-ceiling windows featuring louvers that tilt in one
direction to shade the house's interior and the other to let in
the sunshine. Vertical PV panels form a frame around the glass,
while rooftop PV panels are optimized to capture winter solar energy.
For the Virginia Tech team's house, the central theme was light-hence
the name given to it, LumenHaus. A pavilion design featured sliding
north and south walls made of glass. These glass walls can be opened
up to allow air and light in and expand the footprint of the house
onto the decking and outdoor space. EFCO, Glass Dynamics LLC and
as well as others all supplied glass products to the light-filled
house, while Hafele supplied much of the hardware.
Top honors, though, went to Team Germany, the student team from
Darmstadt, Germany, for designing, building and operating the most
attractive and efficient solar-powered home. Team Germany's winning
"Cube House" design produced a surplus of power even during
three days of rain. The winning house featured exterior shading
devices, used to keep out unwanted heat, supplied by Glas Hahn GmbH.
The house also featured exterior door hardware supplied by Hafele,
including Topfscharnier concealed hinges and Federscharnier spring
|Crew members from the University of Kentucky
prepare to install their house's solar electric panels. Photo
by Ismael Martinez, courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy Solar
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took second place,
followed by Team California in third place. Team California, which
took the prize in the Architecture category, featured Cardinal's
LoE³-366® glass, a reflective coated, laminated tinted
glass used in conjunction with Southwall Film's Heat Mirror®
films. The house also featured the 2000T aluminum framed swinging
glass door supplied by Kawneer.
The University of Minnesota won the Engineering contest, which was
evaluated by a group of engineers, who determined which solar home
best exemplified excellence in energy systems design, energy-efficiency
savings, creative innovations in design and reliability of energy
systems. Minnesota also was named the winner of the Lighting contest
where teams earned points based on an evaluation by a jury of lighting
design experts. Jurors toured each house to evaluate the aesthetics,
innovations, energy efficiency, user-friendliness, flexibility and
performance of the teams' lighting designs. Part of the lighting
was assisted through the use of the house's featured building integrated
PV glazed aluminum curtainwall. The curtainwall was custom-fabricated
by W.L. Hall Co. in Hopkins, Minn., using Schott's ASI solar
modules. The house also uses laminated sealed insulating glass units
as privacy glass and several other window products from Marvin Windows
Part of the lighting was assisted through the use of the house's
featured building integrated PV glazed aluminum curtainwall. The
curtainwall was custom-fabricated by W.L. Hall Co. in Hopkins, Minn.,
using Schott's ASI solar modules. The house also uses laminated
sealed insulating glass units as privacy glass and several other
window products from Marvin Windows and Doors.
Over the course of two weeks, the 2009 Solar Decathlon challenged
20 university-led teams from the United States and as far away as
Spain, Germany and Canada to compete in ten contests, ranging from
subjective elements such as architecture, market viability, communications,
lighting design and engineering, to technical measurements of how
well the homes provided energy for space heating and cooling, hot
water, home entertainment, appliances and net metering.
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