A 'smart glass' bet

A Faribault company -- with government backing -- is betting tintable glass will "wow" the construction industry.

When librarians arrive at the Century College science library, one of the first decisions of the day is whether to hit an electrical switch. Not for the lights -- for the windows.

The library in White Bear Lake is partly sheathed in "smart glass" with electronically controlled tinting to reduce harmful sun rays and cut energy use.

"If it is a super-bright day, we dim them," said librarian Jane Young. A few minutes after pressing a button, the windows change from clear to tinted blue. "It's really cool."

The glass is manufactured by SAGE Electrochromics Inc., a 100-employee company in Faribault, Minn., that sees bright days ahead for the green technology.

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