Mercy Orthopedic Hospital enhances the indoor-outdoor connection for patients and staff with SageGlass

Date: 19 February 2015

The new Mercy Orthopedic Hospital in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is using electronically tintable SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, to tame the sun for comfort and efficiency and to make an architectural statement about the organization’s healthcare mission.

Mercy Orthopedic is part of Mercy Health, the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S., with more than 750 healthcare facilities run by the Sisters of Mercy.The former ambulatory surgical center was expanded into a full 24-bed orthopedic hospital for aging baby boomers as part of Mercy’s $192 million master plan to put healthcare access closer to where patients live.

With so many facilities, the Sisters established a number of branded architectural features for all new construction, including the Lantern and the Cross, a unique glass curtain wall entrance to Mercy buildings in which windows and mullions form a crucifix symbol.

Views from the building were critical to the architectural design of the new expansion. The hospital faces west to address the intersection and vehicular circulation. And the exterior landscape features lush, gorgeous garden to provide patients with serene views of the outdoors. 

“Mercy created a set of architectural principles that reflected their brand and commitment to the community so that their facilities would be recognizable,” said Michelle Teague, an architect at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. “They wanted the architecture to enhance the experience of patients while preserving a connection to the outdoors. But the west-facing orientation of the entrance posed significant sun control problems like glare and heat gain inside the reception area.”

Using mechanized shades would have been impractical because the entrance was a multi-story glass curtain wall. It would have also blocked the symbolic view of the cross as well as the indoor-outdoor connection.

The Sisters ultimately chose SageGlass dynamic glass because it solves the glare challenge while preserving the outdoor views. SageGlass is electronically tintable glass for windows, skylights and curtain walls. It tints automatically or on demand to control sunlight, without blinds or shades, maintaining a connection to the outdoors and reducing energy consumption. “SageGlass helps create a visually stunning effect from the inside as the tinting windows frame the Lantern and Cross. It also provides an unbroken connection to beautiful outdoor spaces for the benefit of patients and employees. It was a win-win for the interior spatial experience,” Teague said.

Dynamic glazing also addressed Mercy’s daylighting, energy efficiency and green building objectives. Teague said the sisters aggressively pursue energy savings in their lighting specifications and HVAC systems in new building projects. SageGlass maximizes the amount of natural daylight entering the building throughout the day while blocking glare. It also helps reduce cooling loads on hot, sunny days.

SageGlass was also used on the south side of the building to control sun glare and heat at the surgical department entrance. The south façade is a single story glass wall featuring the signature Lantern and Cross architecture.   

About SageGlass 

SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, is advanced dynamic glass that can be electronically tinted or cleared to optimize daylight and improve the human experience in buildings. SageGlass manages the sunlight and heat that enter a building, significantly reducing energy consumption while improving people’s comfort and well-being. It can reduce a building’s cooling load by 20% and HVAC requirements up to 30%. It is a smarter, more elegant solution than conventional sun controls such as mechanical window shades, blinds and louvers. With SageGlass you can control sunlight and glare without shades or blinds while maintaining the view and connection to the outdoors. SageGlass is manufactured in Faribault, MN, in the heart of “the Silicon Valley of the window industry,” and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paris, the world’s largest building materials company.

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About Saint-Gobain

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, has its North American headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As the world leader in sustainable habitat, Saint-Gobain is committed to inventing solutions to help professionals and communities around the world build and renovate comfortable, healthy, economical and energy-efficient buildings. The company has more than 265 locations in North America and approximately 15,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $7.9 billion in 2013.

Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. For more information about Saint-Gobain in North America, visit and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

About Saint-Gobain

Located in 64 countries and headquartered in Paris with nearly 195,000 employees, Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets, designs, manufactures and distributes building materials, providing innovative solutions to meet growing demand for energy efficiency and for environmental protection. For more information about Saint-Gobain, please visit

600450 Mercy Orthopedic Hospital enhances the indoor-outdoor connection for patients and staff with SageGlass

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