The university is Minnesota State University; the healthcare facility is the Butler County Health Care Center in Nebraska; and the board room is in the Saint Paul RiverCentre complex in downtown Saint Paul, MN.In their own way, each building faced a unique problem managing heat and glare from the sun. Further, each facility wanted to maximize daylight, occupant comfort and wide-open views for everyone in the building. Impossible? Not with SageGlass.SageGlass, a product of Saint-Gobain, is electronically tintable dynamic glass that maximizes daylight and outdoor views while controlling glare and heat gain.
SageGlass keeps students, staff and visitors comfortable and protected from the sun’s blinding rays as they traverse a new indoor walkway on campus.
At Minnesota State University, Mankato, the project involved a high traffic enclosed glass walkway between two adjoining buildings. Informally called the “Connection,” the walkway is an indoor pedestrian route between the University’s Memorial Library, the Centennial Student Union building and the rest of central campus. As many as 5,000 students visit the library and 9,500 people visit the student union building on a daily basis. Given the harsh and wide ranging temperatures in Minnesota – 50 consecutive sub-zero days this winter – and often exceeding 90 degrees F in the summer, the walkway provides a welcome retreat from the elements. In fact, the idea for the Connection was first conceived when a disabled student expressed concerns about getting to the library during winter months. While it was built mostly underground, the west side of the Connection faces a large, open amphitheater sloped like a bowl that is used for outdoor performances.
The western exposure of the windows would present a significant heat and glare problem for pedestrians if left untreated. As the director of planning and construction at the university stated, “It would have been blinding during afternoon hours if we had used conventional windows.”
The project includes a nine-panel curtain wall of SageGlass to control the sun without resorting to shades, blinds or other view blocking mechanisms. The glass tints the glass corridor to maximize daylight and outdoor views while controlling glare and heat gain. SageGlass operates automatically in the alkway
in response to light sensors, changing tint as the sun intensifies and wanes throughout the day.
In Nebraska, the Butler County Health Care Center utilizes SageGlass in its new wellness center to tame the sun’s glare, create a more comfortable healing environment, and preserve a connection to the outdoors for patients, members and health care staff.
The new wellness center features a unique 3,000+ square-foot curved glass curtain wall that extends up to 22 feet high, offering beautiful views of a park and golf course. However, the addition was constructed on the south-facing end of the hospital, creating a significant glare and heat problem, particularly in the winter months when the low-angled sun blasted brightly and deeply into the center’s open space.
The dynamic curtain wall is digitally programmed to “follow the sun.” SageGlass is programmed to automatically tint in vertical sections, four glass panes wide, based on the time of day and season in relation to the sun’s angle. Throughout the day people can see the tinting process “magically” move across the facade as the sun moves westward across the horizon.
Back in Minnesota, the RiverCentre is St. Paul’s premier convention center and part of a complex that includes Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, and The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. In addition to its Grand Ballroom, Saint Paul RiverCentre offers numerous meeting rooms, many with beautiful views of downtown Saint Paul. They installed SageGlass electronically tintable glass on the east side of its boardroom to solve solar glare and heat gain problems without compromising the view that attracts customers.
Managing the daylight and shading for presentations, videos and meetings was a major concern. The organization initially used mechanized shades to temper the sun with unsatisfactory results. The director of sustainability programming for Saint Paul RiverCentre indicated that the previous mechanical shades that were used to provide filtered sunlight “never really worked well and blocked the view to historic Rice Park.”
SageGlass has been able to provide a better experience for the people using the board room contributes to their sustainability goal by modulating light, heat gain and glare while maximizing daylight. Using light sensors, the dynamic glazing automatically tints or clears within minutes, significantly reducing energy consumed for air conditioning, heating and lighting.
Electrochromic glass can help moderate heat and glare for virtually any building – schools, hospitals, museums, government facilities or commercial office buildings. SageGlass is manufactured in a new state-of-the-art 324,000 square foot high-volume manufacturing facility in Faribault, Minnesota. It is the world’s largest and most advanced dynamic glass manufacturing plant, able to produce SageGlass in high volumes and in larger commercial architectural sizes (5” x 10”) at an affordable cost.