STUDIO CITY (CBS) — A SoCal woman says the energy efficient window installed in a neighbor’s condominium is melting the plastic components on cars parked in her carport.

Heather Patron of Studio City was dealing with a mystery regarding her Toyota Prius.

“The side view mirrors were melting,” says Patron. “Anything that was plastic on the car was melting.”

Toyota told Patron nothing was wrong with the car. After having the mirrors replaced, she noticed the mirrors on the car parked next to hers were also melting.

Patron then observed a powerful beam of light that was reflecting off the window of a next door condominium, casting a concentrated beam over her carport.

CBS2’s Randy Paige placed a thermometer in the pathway of the beam on a partially cloudy day. The temperature registered over 120 degrees in less than five minutes.

“I’m positive that this window is what is causing the damage to my car,” says Patron.

Patron is not alone. Reports across the country have alleged damages brought on by concentrated sunlight reflected off of energy efficient windows. The National Association of Home Builders is now conducting a study on the matter.

“I just don’t feel like it’s fair,” says Patron. “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.”

The Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety says even if the window is the source of the damage, there are no code violations involved. The department says it’s not against the law to install a window that reflects sunlight.

Comments (476)
  1. Peter Michael Beck says:

    I recall reading a news story about a year ago where these high efficiency windows were installed in homes built very close together. It included photographs showing vinyl siding melting from the sunlight reflected off of these windows.

  2. David says:

    Toyota Prius averages 500 miles on one tank of gas (10 gallons)

  3. seattlemike says:

    I wonder why it is that California = frivolous lawsuits??
    Is it the high number of unemployed attorneys? Or is it the high number of people who believe they deserve a life unaffected by someone else’s existence? If you think you should be able to live without being affected by those around you, why would you choose a California townhome/apartment/condominium? Why not move out to the sticks?

  4. TOM says:


  5. D-Money says:

    Reminds me of the “death ray” story about that Las Vegas casino’s windows that burn people. 😛

  6. Hop Phan says:

    What about fire hazards in dry suburban areas? How is it not a code violation if it could be a fire hazard?

  7. matt says:

    Go green and make it someone else’s problem…..great country we live in..passed the buck….now where to buried the volt’s batteries when they die…

  8. mjazz says:

    You could make a solar powered oven with those windows.

  9. MkNBC says:

    If these are solar bronze type of window is designed to reflect infra-red waves more than visable waves. The visible light is diminished to an extent but the majority of Infra-red is reflected. Now if the glass has even the slightest warp, those IR waves will come to a skinny line at some distance from the window. All the energy reflected comes to a point all along the locus of the line. The distance is the focal length….and the more serious the warp, the closer to the window the concentration becomes. There is no doubt about a slightly curved priece of glass but a perfectly flat glass could only reflect 1 sun and no more. Therefore there could be some stresses on the window (too tight a fit in the frame for example) that cause it to act as a convex mirror.

  10. punchy says:

    I would punch that light right in the face!

  11. Concerned Mom of 5 says:

    Window Schmidow… anyone with a pea sized brain knows the root cause of mirror melting is global warming. Look it up… first ice caps, then auto mirrors. Quit complaining about your neighbor. Blame George Bush like the Kenyan in the White House does.

  12. dpetrone01 says:

    This very well might be the best headline ever!

  13. Bob says:

    Now, wait a minute here. Let’s stop blaming the windows for a moment and blame the real culprit: the Sun! The windows aren’t emitting heat or creating energy that wasn’t already there in the first place. Plus the Sun is moving and the beams reflected in a window move twice as fast, so the car cannot have been exposed for very long. If the plastic is so worthless that it melts randomly in a carpark, I’d say take the automaker to court on account of reasonable lack of due diligence (with regard to safety).

    In the meantime, the easy solution would be to design a very cheap foil-coated protective cover (made from, say, styrofoam) that you slip in place when you expect high heat. No real worry of getting it stolen, as it would be cheap anyway and practically worthless to anyone else…

  14. bad debt says:

    Behatzaile bat besterik ez, orduan blogs da, baina hau benetan me egindako nahi iruzkina utzi nahi nago. Fantastic lana!

  15. Kristina says:

    It is very true about the windows melting plastic. One day we had a trash bag start to melt but didn’t think much about it. It wasn’t until my ice chest was melted that we realized it was because of the windows (I still have the ice chest).

  16. MkNBC says:

    The Bldg. and Code department should just modify their rules to require any window installation to be such that at no point will the reflection be in excess of 1 sun. Problem solved. Re-do the installation so there is no convex mirror or section thereof or spray some diffuser on the glass to conform to the 1 sun max.

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