Ply Gem supports Appalachian State's Solar Decathlon Team (video)

Ply Gem supports Appalachian State's Solar Decathlon Team (video)

Maison Reciprocity, the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 entry from Appalachian State University, features the latest in energy-efficient, highly sustainable construction technologies including products from Ply Gem.

Ply Gem, a leading exterior building products, Ply Gem, has partnered with the team to provide products for home, Maison Reciprocity, or Reciprocity House.

To enhance the project's design and efficiency, Ply Gem has been working closely with the team since the build out began in 2011. The company supplied window and door frames to the home, which were then set with Eastman Chemical Company's Heat Mirror insulating glass to create incredibly energy efficient, lightweight hybrid windows and doors.

The Ply Gem door and window frames are specially designed prototype models, selected for their security, as well as their aesthetics. In addition to the window and door frames, Ply Gem shared newly-developed materials with the team and worked with them to create new forms of furniture for the competition home.

"At Ply Gem, innovation has been an important factor in shaping our 70-year history and we believe that investing in the bright young minds of the building world will enhance the future of this industry tremendously, in terms of both technological advances and sustainability," said Lee Clark-Sellers, Innovation Officer, Ply Gem. "Working with Team Reciprocity on this project has been an extremely positive experience for us in taking innovation to the next level and we wish them the best of luck in the competition."

Appalachian State University's (ASU) Team Réciprocité is one of three teams from the United States competing in Solar Decathlon Europe 2014. The competition, inspired by the U.S. Solar Decathlon, challenges collegiate student teams to design and build an energy-independent solar home. The team designed Maison Reciprocity, a two-bedroom, two-bath row house, to be affordable and emphasize community.

The home uses an Urban Shell for its structural envelope. Other innovations include:

  • Integrated Systems Container for High-performance Operation, Recirculation and Distribution (CHORD) that houses all mechanical, plumbing, and electrical services, and serves as either an internal divider between public and private spaces or the shared walls between units.
  • "Living" Brise Soleil modular building shell that integrates renewable energy technologies into the design. The skin is a lattice-like grid with a secondary envelope that optimizes shading of both interior and outdoor spaces. The envelope also reduces thermal gain and minimizes energy demand and consumption. It also houses photovoltaic panels, living planters, shading devices and open cells.
  • Ply Gem's innovative window and door frames
  • Eastman Chemical Company's Heat Mirror insulating glass

"Ply Gem has done so much for us," said Mark Bridges, Communications Manager, Team Réciprocité. "These frames will be the first thing you'll see coming into the house and the last thing you'll see leaving the home. They're important."

Maison Reciprocity Interior

In addition to providing window and door frames, Ply Gem also invited two representatives from ASU to take part in Ply Gem's annual ProTalk Series at the International Builders' Show 2014. The two representatives led an hour-long session where they explained their concept to an exhibit hall packed with builders, remodelers, designers, and various other home-building professionals.

"[Ply Gem is] not afraid to take a chance; they're not afraid to try something new," said Eric Burgoyne, Sponsorship Manager, Team Réciprocité. "They've supported young professionals in the building market; a very important aspect of the industry."

Team Réciprocité, in partnership with the Université d'Angers, will compete this summer at Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 in Versailles, France with their Maison Reciprocity row house. For more information on Team Réciprocité, please visit

Read more about energy efficient windows and doors.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Exteriors, Going Green, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power, Windows

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