At Kawneer, we know that the next generation of architects and designers are an important part of the building community. We have a long history of supporting current and future architects, designers and engineers as they work to find more environmentally responsible and efficient solutions to everyday building challenges. This includes our recent sponsorship of the University of Tennessee’s 2011 Solar Decathlon team, “Living Light.”

Administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Solar Decathlon is a bi-annual competition designed to educate participants and the public about the benefits of energy-efficient systems and construction. This year’s competition featured 19 teams from around the world who were selected to design and build attractive, affordable and energy-efficient houses, which were on display for voting and public viewing on the national mall in Washington, D.C. As a contributing sponsor, Kawneer donated our 7500 Wall® curtain wall, AA®900 IsoWeb® Windows, Trifab® VG (VersaGlaze®) Storefront Framing and 260 Insulclad® Thermal Entrances as well as technical expertise to the University of Tennessee team.

Following the design of the cantilever barns in their native Appalachia, the Living Light Team sought to use passive systems and simple aesthetic designs matched with advanced solar technologies. To maximize daylighting and enhance energy efficiency, the team’s entry featured a dual-skin façade using several products from Kawneer. At the time of the competition, the team had spent nearly two years designing and building the Living Light House.

The University of Tennessee finished eighth in the overall competition, which consisted of 10 contests; evaluating the architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and energy balance of each entry. While the University of Maryland took top overall honors, the University of Tennessee’s entry tied for first in the hot water and energy balance contests, third in the engineering and appliances contests and fifth in the architecture contest. This was the University of Tennessee’s first entry in the Solar Decathlon.