After researching potential fenestration products and suppliers for the solar house project, the MS&T team selected Crystal windows for their performance and value. “Crystal windows offered the high level of cost-effective energy efficiency the team required along with long term low maintenance, both of which are critical components of the project,” says Bob Phelan, MS&T’s student learning center outreach manager and an advisor for the Solar Decathlon student team. MS&T student and team director of design and construction Aaron Enz adds, “Crystal worked closely with our team to meet the design requirements and offer suggestions. We were especially pleased with the service and support Crystal provided.”
The Chameleon House uses eight Series 245 Awning and 12 Series 211 Picture white vinyl windows. All of the Crystal 200 Series vinyl windows feature 3-¼-inch jamb depths, multi-chamber energy saving frames and ⅞-inch dual-pane insulated glass units (IGUs). The IGUs utilized ⅛-inch double-strength glass and were argon filled. To maximize fresh air ventilation, the awning windows came with full fibermesh screens and were equipped with custom motorized crank operators. The windows also came outfitted with nailing fins to provide easy installation in the new house.
To achieve even greater levels of thermal performance, all the windows were ordered with PPG Solarban 70XL, a triple-silver-coated low-E glass.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a national competition in which college student teams design, build and operate houses powered by solar energy that are cost-effective, extremely energy-efficient, functional and attractive. The MS&T team is one of 20 teams invited to participate this year out of 45 teams applying, and it is the only team worldwide to be accepted into five of the six competitions held to date. The Chameleon House, the team’s 2013 entry, focuses on adaptability to varying environments, weather and functional needs, as the name implies.
The Solar Decathlon houses compete in 10 contests gauging how well the houses perform and how livable and affordable they are. Contests include aesthetic and structural design, appliance and HVAC performance, market appeal and comfort; the contests are both measured and juried by experts in their fields.