Pushing Advances in Sustainability

Accurate Perforating collaborated with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture’s Solar Decathlon team to develop a unique, ecologically sustainable structure that was cost-effective, energy-efficient, attractive and easy to live in. Accurate donated numerous custom fabricated perforated components to assist in the overall goal of blending affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The team efforts culminated into a carbon-neutral dwelling they named the Meltwater House.

The Meltwater House,UW-Milwaukee’s entry for the 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C., on behalf of the school of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), focusedon more than just solar energy production; theydesigned thehouse to be a model of overall-sustainable living. The house designed and built wasapproximately 800 square feet. This may seem small but by combining living spaces and functions,they were able to make 800 square feet feel like 1,200 square feet.

They were the first University from the State of Wisconsin to be invited to participate in the Solar Decathlon and they wanted their building’s materials to represent the fabric that binds Milwaukee’s unique characteristics, while serving the greater goal of carbon neutrality. As Milwaukee continues to be in the business of manufacturing a variety of industrial products, they wanted to include perforated metal components on our house to help achieve their overall goals.

The perforated metal served both functional and esthetic roles in the Meltwater House. Theyused perforated metal in two different louver systems: vertically on the west side and horizontally on the south side of the house. The design for the southern horizontal perforated louvers was to provide even shading to the bedroom and the main living space in the house throughout the course of any givenday. Theydesigned the western vertical louvers to combat the glaring afternoon sun. Perforated louver-doors were connected to an actuator that allowed a computer to track the sun as it moves across the sky; thus keeping the interior of the house at a comfortable temperature.

The western façade composition proved to be so compelling that it was decided to echo the perforated metal on both the eastern and northern elevations. Here the metal was used functionally as a rain-screen but also esthetically for the observer to be able to read the interior spaces inside the house on the exterior façade. According to Graduated Student and Team Production Manager Joseph Patrick Rice, “Perforated metal components provided to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture’s Solar Decathlon team by Accurate Perforating helped to give the Meltwater House the architectural flare theydesired and an increase in thebuilding’s performance.”

The team performed extremely well at the Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C. Through the process, they not only learned about developing processes and systems that reduce energy demands through thoughtful design, they also gain experience in developing interdisciplinary connections throughout academia and the business sector. Accurate is proud to have been a part of their endeavor.