Porch Shade Supports for the Solar Decathlon
The Solar Decathlon is an annual university competition, hosted by the US Department of Energy, that attracts an international audience. Every year a set of specifications is given, and universities complete to build an efficient structure. The Solar Decathlons web site puts it this way:
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
This year's competition includes an entry from Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the United States. The team from Vermont plans to transport their construction all the way to California. The challenge of bringing their structure all the way across the United States led them to search for materials that are modular in nature and relatively easy to handle. Simplified Building is pleased to support Norwich Universities entry in the Solar Decathlon by providing them with the Kee Klamp fittings that support the porch step shade.
This short video overview gives some nice shots of the porch structure as well as a summary of the entire structure:
Kee Klamp fittings are slip-on structural pipe fittings that can be used to build just about any kind of tubular structure. Kee Klamp is great for custom structures because they are available in so many different shapes and sizes. They are industrial in nature, so they are fully galvanized or anodized to stand up to decades of outdoor abuse. The fittings are also removable. With Kee Klamp you get the strength of a welded connection with the convenience of being able to separate the pipes.
Matthew Lutz, Aritechect, Professor, and Team Leader for the Norwich Solar Decathlon project had this to say about the fittings and the role they play in the structure:
The shading structure of the T90 House is a needed to follow the same aesthetic as the rest of the structure; it needed to be elegant, understated, and incredibly strong, yet be quick to assemble and disassemble. We went with Kee Klamp fittings for the superstructure because we could make the frame incredibly light visually and removable with a single set screw.
In this structure Kee Klamp fittings form the top and bottom connections to the main structure. Elbows were used to connect the horizontal and vertical pipes together to form the base structure for the wooden shade unit. Using an allen wrench this entire shade piece could be disconnected and packed for safe shipping across the country.
If you've never discovered the Kee Klamp connection system, be sure to dive into our product catalog and projects area. We have a complete projects team available to help you with any questions you might have about the product.