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Three 2011 Solar Decathlon Projects include Kolbe Windows

Ultra & Windquest Series windows featured in concept homes

Wausau, Wis. (September 2011) – Enhancing efficient use of renewable energy, three of the 20 entries in the 2011 Solar Decathlon feature triple pane windows from Kolbe <>: Appalachian State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Purdue University and UIUC also were among the five teams that presented their competition concepts at the 2011 International Builders’ Show.

Helping homeowners lower their heating bills by effectively and efficiently keeping the warm air inside, Kolbe’s triple pane glass windows come standard with insulating glass and LoE coatings designed to achieve low U-factors. Kolbe’s Windquest® EP vinyl windows <> and Ultra EP aluminum clad wood windows <> can achieve U-factors as low as 0.19 (approximately 1.00 in metric), as exemplified in the 2011 Solar Decathlon entries.

On Thurs., Sept. 29, 11 a.m., “Solar 101: Uncovering Opportunities of Advanced Building Envelopes” a consumer workshop delves into the technology behind windows, roofs, walls and building-integrated photovoltaic cells and the opportunities for homeowners to incorporate the latest technologies in their homes. This workshop and many other events <> are free and open to the public, held at the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C.

The Solar Decathlon challenges 20 universities and more than 15,000 students from around the world to design and build solar powered homes. Each school’s team transports its entry to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it is constructed, operated and visited from September 23 to October 2. Open to the public, the event attracts more than 100,000 visitors as well as national media attention.

Entries are judged on performance in 10 categories: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and energy balance. New this year, an affordability contest rewards teams that build houses with estimated costs at or below $250,000. The Affordability Contest’s winner will be decided Wed., Sept. 27. The Engineering Contest will be held Thurs., Sept. 29 and the Communications Contest will be announced Fri., Sept. 30.

The 2011 Solar Decathlon’s overall winner is the team that earns the most points in all categories and contests, demonstrating the best blend of affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Beyond the competition, the ultimate objective is to increase education and awareness of cost-saving opportunities presented by clean-energy products.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002 and has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

For more information on the competition, please visit the Department of Energy at:

North Carolina’s Appalachian State University designed the Solar Homestead (#205) to embody “independence and ingenuity -- qualities reflected in the heritage of traditional homesteads. The Solar Homestead fuses these values into an innovative, ultra-efficient house that is adaptable, self-sufficient, affordable, and attractive. The concept of the ‘modern homestead’ is manifested throughout the house.”

Contributing to this vision, Kolbe provide its Ultra EP casements, picture windows and doors with triple pane glass. A clear anodize, no-VOC, environmentally friendly finish protects the products’ exterior cladding, which includes recycled aluminum. Kolbe offers a range of sustainably harvested wood species for the interior trim, such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Offering additional performance and peace-of-mind to homeowners in coastal areas like North Carolina, stainless steel hinges on the Ultra EP products contribute to attaining Design Pressure (DP) ratings as high as DP80 for casements.

After competing in Solar Decathlon 2011, the Solar Homestead will travel throughout North Carolina to promote renewable energy education. The team will teach visitors the value of sustainable technology and environmental preservation. When the tour concludes, the house will return to Appalachian State University to serve as an educational tool for future Mountaineers.

For more information on Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead, please visit:

Purdue University named its entry “INhome,” short for Indiana home (#305). Designed to feature “efficient systems and sustainable design without sacrificing modern comforts and amenities… the INhome is a fully functional, yet practical net-zero energy home designed for a typical Midwestern consumer in today’s cost-competitive residential market.

Kolbe supplied Ultra EP casement and awning windows with triple pane glass. The windows’ recycled aluminum clad exteriors are painted in a durable Ultra Pure White 70% fluoropolymer finish, verified to meet the industry’s most stringent testing and backed with a 30-year warranty. The awnings were installed with an electric operator to assist with natural ventilation, highlighting the project’s focus on technological innovations to optimize energy performance.

According to Team Purdue, “One practical method to make solar powered residences a reality and cost-effective is to rely on passive systems. Passive design utilizes natural processes for heating, cooling and lighting. In order to benefit from passive daylighting, the INhome is designed to face south, maximizing sunlight exposure. Passive air ventilation from a mixture of automated and manual windows provides cooling when needed. Passive heating design helps to maintain indoor temperatures during the winter without relying on energy usage from the HVAC system.”

After the Solar Decathlon, the INhome will be placed in an existing neighborhood in Lafayette, Ind., as part of a broader revitalization effort.

For more information on Purdue University’s INhome, please visit:

Illinois’ Re_home by UIUC (#201) uses a rapid deployment strategy to offer an immediate and sustainable solution for a family left without a home in the vent of a natural disaster. Designed with affordable materials and readily available technologies for increased efficiency and comfort, Re_home also incorporates universal design features that comply with the American Disabilities Act.

A highly insulated, double-layered envelope minimizes thermal transfer between the interior and exterior. The UIUC team says that this helps in “drastically reducing the energy needs of the home. Glazing on the home is kept to a minimum, and when used is carefully placed and strategically shaded to control solar gains and maximize daylighting.”

Kolbe helped accomplish these goals with its Windquest EP triple pane glass windows. These were installed on the north and south façade to minimize unwanted solar heat gain and maximize thermal performance. These low-maintenance units also are may be specified with impact performance for coastal areas and high wind zones. Certified to meet both large missile impact Level D and Wind Zone 4 testing standards, Kolbe’s Windquest Series product line received notice of acceptance in compliance with Miami-Dade County codes, some of the most stringent requirements by any jurisdiction.

After the Solar Decathlon, the UIUC team would like the house to be used for its intended purpose by offering it to a family in need. “By finding a balance between good design and smart planning, the Re_home responds to the physical and emotional needs of the families while overall demonstrating how environmentally aware living can be brought to the forefront of a community-led recovery effort.”

For more information on University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Re_home, please visit:

What began in 1946 as a two-brother team has grown into an internationally respected manufacturing company. Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co, Inc. remains a privately held, community-oriented business located in Wausau, Wis. Covering nearly one million-square-feet, its state-of-the-art facilities feature high-tech machinery and a design center to present the creative possibilities offered by Kolbe windows and doors.

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