Deep green remodel will be a living laboratory for Purdue

Deep green remodel will be a living laboratory for Purdue

A deep green rebuild of a 1920s vintage Craftsman home demonstrates that existing housing stock can be transformed into a net-zero energy, water and waste high performance home.

In the U.S. today, nearly 41 percent of the owner-occupied housing stock was built prior to 1969 with little regard for energy efficiency.

With this in mind, Whirlpool Corporation, Ply Gem and Purdue University have worked together to transform create the ReNEWW House, which that stands for Retrofitted Net-Zero Energy, Water and Waste.

The products donated by Ply Gem are part of The Designed Exterior by Ply Gem, a complete exterior solution offering nearly every product needed to finish the home, including windows, siding, stone veneer, railing, trim, accents, doors, roofing and more. Photos: Doug Hyland

Ply Gem, a leading North American manufacturer of exterior building products, provided virtually the entire exterior of the home, including windows, doors, siding and trim, to help the university reach its goal of making the 1920s Craftsman-style home a net-zero housing unit for visiting graduate students.

“Innovation has played a major role in shaping Ply Gem’s 70-year history,” said Lee Clark-Sellers, chief innovation officer, Ply Gem. “We work frequently with college students who push the boundaries on what can be done, and the ReNEWW house provides a unique, evolving challenge for sponsors like Ply Gem and for the Purdue students and faculty who were an integral part of the planning and retrofitting processes.”

The ReNEWW house is a three-year project started by Whirlpool Corporation and Purdue University to house graduate engineering students from Whirlpool, who will use the house as a living laboratory.

In addition to Ply Gem’s energy-efficient products, the completed house will have solar panels on the roof that produce electricity and hot water. Other water- and energy-saving systems have been implemented, which will collect typically unusable radiant heat and graywater and use it for other processes within the home.

The products donated by Ply Gem are part of The Designed Exterior by Ply Gem, a complete exterior solution offering nearly every product needed to finish the home, including windows, siding, stone veneer, railing, trim, accents, doors, roofing and more. Ply Gem is the only manufacturer in the U.S. to be able to provide single-source supply for all the exterior products in a home. Specific features of the ReNEWW home include the following:

EcoSmart Windows from Ply Gem’s Great Lakes Window brand. These 36 windows provide complete insulation and a weather-tight seal. The product is Home Innovation National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Green Certified and is the most energy efficient option from the Great Lakes Window brand.

Doctoral student Stephen Caskey uses an infrared camera in research to improve energy efficiency in the structure. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) 

Four custom-built doors with a sustainable composite frame, fiberglass panels and the new High-Performance Door Sill from Ply Gem. The two back doors feature a large glass center glazed with Eco Max Shield 366, formulated to let light stream in while reducing solar heat gain, providing year-round comfort.

Insulated siding and trim from Ply Gem’s Mastic Home Exteriors brand. The Structure Home Insulation System siding and Cellular PVC trim work together to seal the home and minimize air leakage. The siding is also Home Innovation NGBS Green Certified for recycled content.

“I am extremely impressed by how forward thinking Ply Gem is with respect to the ReNEWW house project,” said Eckhard Groll, Reilly Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and ReNEWW project lead. “The sustainable materials they’ve contributed will truly help us achieve our goal of having the first net zero-energy home near Purdue’s campus that was created through a retrofit.  Not many people realize that a home’s exterior can be more than just aesthetically pleasing; it can also contribute to the structure’s energy efficiency in amazing ways.”

Read more about green home remodeling.


Topics: Appliances, Building Green, Connected Homes / Smart Homes, Cost of Ownership, Energy Audits, Exteriors, Foundations, Healthy Homes, Heating & Cooling, Insulation, Maintenance & Repair, Remodeling

Companies: Whirlpool Corporation


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