Massachusetts State House – Boston, MA



One of main goals was to create a green, energy-efficient daylighting solution. This was a major roofing project with 21 skylights requiring replacement less than 15 years after the original installation because of continuous leaks, which also damaged much of the custom plasterwork. All roofing abutting the skylights had to be replaced. Due to past problems, a stringent quality control program was necessary. Each section of welded copper flashing and gutters needed to be submitted for approval before installation.

This was a very important historical building and incredibly busy work site with a steady flow of senators and congressmen, as well as public tours, so minimal impact was crucial.

The centerpiece of this project was an expansive atrium skylight over the Memorial Hall, which was to contain photovoltaic film laminated within the glass, converting solar energy into electricity while allowing some light transmittance in this public area. “This is an extremely complicated manufacturing process to integrate the thin photovoltaic film within a sealed insulated glass structure not normally meant to house wires and connectors.” said Ed Malley, project manager for the general contractor, The Cheviot Corporation.

Another challenge was finding one company that could supply the two different types of photovoltaics specified and meet all that the stringent specifications laid out in the plans.

The large atrium skylight is a Pinnacle segmented vault with integrated photovoltaics in the center.


Wasco by VELUX’s Pinnacle Skylight System was chosen because its leak-resistant sill enclosure guards against air infiltration and water intrusion, and it has a large span capability.

Wasco by VELUX created a scale model — big enough to walk under — to demonstrate the high quality of manufacturing and to test the performance of all the critical sections. The entire Massachusetts State House construction management team was then invited to the Wells, Maine, plant to see how it would all work. “I must say that everyone was very impressed with the kind of operation Wasco by VELUX had and their entire high-tech production facility,” Malley said.

Besides being aesthetically pleasing, integrating the photovoltaics into the skylight structure meant that the panels would not have to be removed in any future roof repairs. Wasco by VELUX made deeper, custom pressure bars for the wire and connectors to run under the face caps to avoid compromising the integrity of the system. More traditional, non-light-transmitting photovoltaic glass units were used in non-public areas.

The remaining skylights were more traditional non-photovoltaic daylighting systems, and a handful were re-glazed to keep the existing rafters and purlins while adding new pressure plates and covers.

Non-photovoltaic Pinnacle pyramid and single-pitch skylights over the stained glass ceiling in the Hall of Flags.
Traditional non-light-transmitting photovoltaic glass was used in non-public areas.