Green on Green Crime: Energy Efficient Windows Melt Toyota Prius
January 26, 2012 11:47 AM
comment(s) - last by
National Association of Home Builders has promised an investigation into heat-glare from window treatments
Heather Patron of Studio City (Los Angeles, Calif.)
her neighbors of a dastardly crime -- melting her Toyota Motor Comp. (
. No, really. This was no Hawaiian Baby Woodrose-induced optical illusion, her neighbors’ energy-efficient window treatment had melted the plastic molding of her Prius' mirror housings.
Los Angeles is a seasonable southern city on the west coast. Its average monthly maximum temperatures are historically confined to the 64-77 ºF range year round [
]. Unsurprisingly, the big concern for residents in terms of energy efficiency is the cost of air conditioning. One of the major sources of heat entering the house is through window light. So southern Californians, like residents of other longitudinally southern U.S. states, have taken to applying reflective windows treatments, both as a cost-saving measure and as a "green" energy saver.
But in this case the approach backfired, as the neighbors' energy efficient reflective gloss created a brilliant beam during daytime hours that directed itself directly at the car port.
"The side view mirrors were melting. Anything that was plastic on the car was melting," the Prius-owner recalls.
Ms. Patron shows offer her damaged Prius. She claims her neighbor's energy-efficient window treatment did the damage. [Image Source: CBS]
And Ms. Patron says her Prius wasn't the only ones damaged -- a neighboring vehicle saw similar melting. She comments, "I'm positive that this window is what is causing the damage to my car. I just don't feel like it’s fair. I feel like it needs to be known that this is happening. And a lot of people probably have damage out there, that they aren't aware that it’s the windows that are causing this."
She claims to have measured the temperature in the car port when it's exposed to the beam and found it to be 120 ºF.
The damage occurred in Studio City, a suburb of southern California's biggest city, Los Angeles. [Image Source: Google Maps]
Similar claims of reflective windows burning people or plastics were
leveled in Sept. 2010 by a lawyer staying at the Vdara hotel
in Las Vegas, Nevada. Reportedly in that case the situation was even more severe as the reflective windows were acting as a hyperbolic solar dish, focusing sunlight into a "death ray", which swept across the pool deck.
Reportedly other homeowners have also complained about plastic-melting reflective beams coming off windows with certain energy-efficient treatments. The
National Association of Home Builders
has promised a thorough investigation into this problem.
What makes Ms. Patron's story more curious is that automotive mirror housings are usually primarily composed of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) [
] -- the same type of plastic found in LEGO blocks and plastic pipes. Pure ABS has a melting point of 221 ºF [
], so it's unclear how the beam was able to melt the plastic, even if the air temperature was 120 ºF.
One possibility was that the black mirror plastic absorbed the light, and heated up to a temperature far hotter than the surrounding air (think of an Easy-Bake oven).
The Prius is the best-selling hybrid electric vehicle in the U.S. (and in the world).
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]
The Prius is the best-selling hybrid electric vehicle in the world. As of March 2011,
3 million Prius vehicles had been sold
worldwide, with 1 million sold in the U.S. alone by April 2011.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Myth Busted
1/27/2012 12:37:04 AM
As a weapon, focused light is not much good as the targets tend to move out of the focus.
Magnifying lense+sunlight focused on a spider makes a nice low explosive firecracker.
Matte black in sunlight easily reaches temps of 200F on a sunny day. People are severely burned by sunlit black objects every year.
Car windows are famous for destroying things on a sunny day. If the outside temp is 72F, the inside temp of a car parked in the sun can easily go above 140F ... this kills a few pets and children every summer.
This sounds like a simple case of sunlight being aimed at a piece of black plastic for a long period of time. To see the effect, put a CD on the top of your dashboard and park the car in the sun on a warm day. CDs treated this way are very decorative, though not overly useful for anything else.
Just for fun, put a dark vinyl sofa out on your sunlit porch, let it warm up for a few hours & then take a seat. You would be wise to check the temp of the plastic before taking a seat...just a suggestion that :P
RE: Myth Busted
1/27/2012 4:00:08 PM
I had black vinyl seats in a 79 Mustang with a glass sunroof. Never wear shorts when driving such in the summer :)
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
Toyota Hybrid Vehicle Sales Hit 3 Million Mark
March 9, 2011, 11:20 AM
Hotel Accidentally Makes Solar "Death Ray", Burns Lawyer
September 29, 2010, 3:11 PM
A Week With the World's Bestselling Hybrid, the 2010 Toyota Prius
November 1, 2009, 9:01 AM
Study Predicts Self-Driving Vehicles Could Rake in Billions
March 6, 2015, 8:34 AM
Dual-Motor Tesla Model S P85D's "Insane Mode" Shocks Passengers
January 28, 2015, 11:18 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
BMW Testing Tech to Allow Users to Auto-Park, Summon Cars Via Smartwatch
December 16, 2014, 9:30 AM
Lamborghini Offers Up $6,000 Leather-Bound Android Smartphone
December 12, 2014, 3:12 PM
Quick Note: GM Teases Next Generation Chevrolet Volt
November 20, 2014, 3:26 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows 10 Build 10061: A Quick Review
April 27, 2015, 10:57 AM
Ding Dong the Deal is Dead: What's Next After Failed Comcast/TWC Merger
April 28, 2015, 2:06 PM
Report: Apple Pulls the Plug on Apple Watch Store Launch
April 16, 2015, 3:18 PM
Quick Note: Lady Macbath -- One Japanese Woman's Apple Themed Revenge
April 23, 2015, 11:47 AM
After Record-Setting Week, Samsung Predicts 70 Million GS6/GS6 Edge Sales
April 17, 2015, 8:39 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information