Distributed Solar Study

Energy Efficient Windows Blamed for ‘Melting House’


Heat reflecting off energy efficient windows can cause damage to neighboring objects, according to a video by the Vinyl Siding Institute.

As sun hits the widows, which are designed to let in light but not heat, gas inside the double glazing can expand or contract causing the window to bow.

The now-convex window then concentrates the reflected heat in a similar manner to a magnifying glass and any object that falls in the focused area of the heat beam will have to suffer the consequences.

The Institute’s video (pictured) came to light when siding on a house in a Buffalo, NY, began melting as a result of refelcted heat from a neighbor’s windows.

Bill and Joyce Wakefield were as confused by their melting house as by the damaged area’s diagonal pattern, reports local station WIVB 4.

After discovering the melted area of their home, the couple observed a starburst shaped beam of light reflecting of a neighbors energy efficient windows. Mr. Wakefield recorded temperatures of about 180 degrees at the affected part of his house’s siding.

According to home improvement expert Ken Chmielewsk under just the right conditions, the solar energy reflected from certain energy efficient windows can add up to a lot of heat.

In January 2012, energy efficient windows were blamed for melting a Toyota Prius in California.

After noticing that her side mirrors had melted – and subsequently replaced – Heather Patron of Studio City, Calif., found other melted parts of her car. A thermometer placed in the light beam’s path on a partially cloudy day registered 120 degrees in less than five minutes, according to news reports at the time.

In 2010, a hotel in Las Vegas experienced a similar phenomenon, but on a massive scale.

The convex design of the Vdara hotel, coupled with energy-efficient sun-reflecting windows, led to a concentration of the sun’s light – dubbed the ‘death ray’ by staff – into areas around its pool at certain times of the day.

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