Cool glass, with smarts

Sage Electrochromics, a Faribault company, is the leader in a window technology that has the potential to save 20 percent on cooling bills and as much as 60 percent on lighting.

"Smart glass" may sound like something the U.S. Green Building Council recently cooked up. In fact, it's been the subject of considerable research worldwide for at least 20 years.

Creating a switchable glazing for windows that is durable, scalable and cheap enough to use in constructing buildings has been something of a holy grail in energy efficiency — and a little-known company in Faribault is leading the way.

Sage Electrochromics Inc. applies an ultra-thin ceramic coating made from tungsten oxide on the inside surface of the outer pane of double-paned glass. At the push of a button, a user can send a low voltage electrical current through the ceramic coating that causes lithium ions to move and darken the glass in a few minutes.

Installed, SageGlass is two to three times as expensive as conventional commercial glass, but it reduces electricity demand by cutting down on air conditioning and lighting.

Founder John Van Dine, who moved his company to Faribault from New Jersey in 1998, said SageGlass can reduce cooling bills as much as 20 percent and save as much as 60 percent on lighting, compared to conventional tinted glass.

Van Dine's company is the only manufacturer in the U.S. selling electrochromic glass for use in constructing building exteriors, according to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, the California research lab that tested SageGlass. Two other types of smart glass technology are on the market for architectural use but their use is more limited, according to Sage.

Click on the link bellow to read the entire article By Jennifer Bjorhus.

jbjorhus@pioneerpress.com

600450 Cool glass, with smarts glassonweb.com

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