Death Rays: Are "Green" Windows Melting Cars?

By Joel Arellano | January 26, 2012
We're believers in the scientific method here at Automotive.com. As people's opinions are as reliable as a politician's words, facts—especially repeatable ones—are as close as inviolable as possible in a world where belief denies global warming and vaccinations are viewed with suspicions. (Personally, we think believers of the latter should be shipped off with their families to certain third world nations and live there for a year. Without vaccinations. Let's see what happens when they or and their children contract polio. Remember polio, folks?) So color us more than a little skeptical to recent reports that energy-efficient windows—found on many buildings here in the Golden state—could be melting the plastic on cars. According to CBS, a Ms Heather Patron of Studio City, Calif., claims that the reflected sunlight from the "green" windows on a nearby condo complex was melting the mirror and plastic parts on her Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback. Says Patron, "the side view mirrors were melting. Anything that was plastic on the car was melting." Ms Patron claims the mirrors of nearby vehicles were affected as well. CBS did some due diligence for its part of the report and actually placed a thermometer in the light's path. Temperature within the path soared to 120 degrees F in five minutes, according to the station. Similar reports have been found across the country and the National Association of Home Builders is investigating the matter. Yet even if the organization does discover an issue, Ms Patron and other claimants may have little recourse. According to the Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety, the condo owners or other buildings using "green" windows have not broken any codes; there is no law against using energy efficient windows. Toyota, who replaced Ms Patron's mirrors the first time, says there's nothing wrong with the Prius. Automotive.com's take: The Toyota Prius, like most of today's vehicles, are subjected to extensive testing including extreme temperatures like California's Death Valley in the summer and the near arctic winters of the East Coast. We're not entirely ruling out Ms Patron's claims, but they sell Prii in Phoenix, Ariz., where 120-degree days are commonplace in the summer, and we haven't heard any reports of Toyota's hybrid being reduced to puddles of goo out there. Besides, energy efficient windows have been around for years, especially in California and other sun-drenched states. If they were truly the culprit, there should have more reports of "melting" cars and related issues like, for example, sunburns or even fires. Source: Yahoo
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