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UNLV Chooses Windows that Manage Heat Gain for Solar Decathlon Entry

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, September 26, 2013


Nevada enjoys 210 sunny days each year, earning the distinction of being the country’s third sunniest state. Combined with average daytime highs in the Las Vegas Valley hovering around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, controlling solar heat gain is important for homeowners looking to save energy and improve comfort.

This was an important consideration for Alexia Chen as she helped the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) choose the windows for its DesertSol house – the school’s entry in the Solar Decathlon, which will be held at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California October 3-13.

Public exhibit days are 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Oct. 3-6 and 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Oct 10-13.

Chen, who graduated from UNLV in May with a degree in Masters of Architecture, explains that DesertSol minimizes solar heat gain by using operable windows on the north and south sides to assist with natural ventilation and excluding windows on the east and west sides. North and south facing windows are shaded during the hottest time of year.

The two main sliding doors have a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 and a U-factor of 0.28.

NFRC member company, NanaWall Systems, Inc, provided the operable doors and windows to UNLV at a discount.

"Working on this project has been great practical experience,” Chen said. "The windows and doors are making a big difference in the way our house performs.”

Following the competition, DesertSol will be permanently located at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, 180 acres of natural exhibits, botanical gardens, hiking trails, and desert-living educational facilities built around the original water source of Las Vegas.

Learn more about DesertSol

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