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Energy-efficient windows are melting my Prius, woman says

A California woman complains that her neighbor's energy-efficient windows reflect hot beams of light that melt plastic features on her Prius.

2 min read

Everyone with a live mind who happens not to work for an oil company knows that we must harness our energy.

The possibilities are vast. Consider, for example, Heather Patron of Studio City, Calif., and her Prius. Everything plastic on it began to melt. The side-view mirrors, for example.

This seemed a little odd. She took it to Toyota. The company said there was nothing wrong with the car.

And then she noticed her neighbor's energy-efficient windows that seemed to be directing a concentrated beam of energy-efficient light towards her energy-efficient vehicle.

The melting on her neighbor's car. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Patron told CBS Los Angeles: "I'm positive that this window is what is causing the damage to my car."

CBS 2 Los Angeles took a thermometer along to see how hot it was around Patron's plastic. More than 120 degrees was the answer. Indeed, Patron seems to think it's not just her car that the reflected beam is melting, but also that of another neighbor's parked in the condo carport next to hers.

The local Department of Building and Safety told CBS 2 that there was no code violation here. One person's energy-saving can, indeed, be another person's Prius-melting.

Because we are a fair-minded, solutions-based blog here, we tried to consider what Patron might do in order to save her little car-- if it is, indeed, the neighbor's window that is causing the problem.

First, of course, she could park it away from the beam of light. However, that would surely cause her inconvenience. No one in the L.A. area wants to be walking more than 10 or 11 steps daily.

She could also cover her car every day. But no one in the L.A. area wants to make an effort when they don't have to. And anyway, this being L.A., someone might steal the cover.

Perhaps, then, she could install her own energy-efficient windows. Perhaps they, too, might reflect light toward her neighbor's car. And then, who knows, some mutual accommodation might be reached-- although it's hard to imagine what the neighbor could do about his or her windows.

Still, Patron could also opt to simply give back the Prius and opt for a vehicle that isn't quite as plasticated.

Do tanks have plastic side-mirrors? I don't think so.