The Torrington Port of Entry serves as a weigh station for the Department of Transportation on US 26/85. Port of Entry agents ensure highway safety by monitoring commercial vehicle and driver compliance with state and federal laws. The agents need maximum visibility and an unobstructed view at all angles during all times of the day and in any weather condition to do their jobs.
The prior weigh station had significant glare and visibility issues. Agents had to don baseball caps and sunglasses to view oncoming vehicles through the large windows facing the road. Knowing that the new design was to be a prototype, and future versions of the building could have windows facing in any direction, the Project Architect, Doug Selby, sought a glazing and interior lighting solution that would handle a range of potential conditions and building orientations. These challenges, he knew, couldn’t be met with shades, blinds or other conventional sun controls that block the view. And standard glazing without added sun controls would have caused the same issues that existed with the previous building.
Selby hired a daylighting consultant, Hutton Architecture Studio, who introduced SageGlass as a potential solution, because it tints or untints depending on the orientation of the sun relative to the glass. Having SageGlass in this new station allows agents to see out of the building at any time of day without compromising their comfort or the safety of the drivers coming through the weigh station.
“SageGlass allowed the Wyoming Department of Transportation Port of Entry staff to have full view of trucks on the highway and those circulating through the Port without the need for interior blinds or exterior louvers on the windows to control summer and winter glare on the west and south elevations,” said Selby. “SageGlass, paired with tubular skylights in the Port, have been working seamlessly, reducing the need for artificial lighting in the daylight hours.”
Since the facilities operate year round, ever-changing sunlight and heat are major issues in Wyoming’s summer climate, while snow glare adds more complexity in the winter. The new glazing solution also had to preserve the project’s key design goals of creating a model Port of Entry facility that provided perfect visibility of approaching vehicles, a comfortable work environment for staff, and made maximum use of natural daylighting for energy efficiency.
In this installation, SageGlass provides four different levels of transmitted light: 2%, 6%, 20% and 60%, which was a feature critical to the visual success of the Torrington Port of Entry.
“As daylighting consultants to Selby Architects for the Torrington Port of Entry, we were fascinated by the challenges imposed by the owner’s criteria. We examined a wide range of more traditional solutions including roof overhangs, exterior sunshades and interior blinds, but none of them truly solved the problem,” said Paul Hutton, AIA, principal of Hutton Architecture Studio. “We then turned to SAGE for advice, and soon concluded that SageGlass would be an optimal solution. We are most pleased with the way SageGlass has performed in the building, and were pleasantly surprised at how easy the installation was. Most importantly, workers inside the building tell us they find the interior environment to be quite comfortable, promoting vehicle safety across the State of Wyoming.”
SageGlass’ easy installation was also a key driver for the design solution. Working with glazing contractor Thompson Glass, the station’s temporary standard glass windows were completely replaced with SageGlass in just one day.
“Using SageGlass was a smart decision. It was easy to handle and install. In fact, the installation was easier than I anticipated and went right according to plan,” said Tom Thompson, president of Thompson Glass. “SageGlass fits the location and design perfectly. The Torrington Point of Entry is a unique facility and needed the features of shade and glare control that SageGlass provides. As a glazier, I was pleased with the outcome and look forward to future opportunities to install SageGlass. It worked out well for me from a business standpoint and I think the facility looks great.”
SageGlass is electronically controlled glazing for windows, skylights and curtain walls that changes tint with the push of a button. For maximum energy efficiency, it can be tied in to a building management system, or programmed to use sensors to respond to changing daylight conditions, so that the glass automatically tints or untints as needed. In the Torrington application, Hutton Architecture Studio programmed light sensors to ensure that the precise amount of light permeates the building throughout the day. So far, the auto light sensing system has worked flawlessly without agents having to use manual controls.
About SAGE Electrochromics, Inc.
SAGE Electrochromics is the world’s leading manufacturer of electronically tintable glass that can be tinted or untinted to optimize daylight and improve the human experience in buildings. SageGlass controls the sunlight and heat that enter a building, significantly reducing energy consumption while improving people’s comfort and well-being. SageGlass can reduce a building’s cooling load by 20% and HVAC requirements up to 30%. It is also a smarter, more elegant solution than conventional sun controls such as mechanical window shades, blinds and louvers. The company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., in the heart of “the Silicon Valley of the window industry.” SAGE is strategically partnered with the Saint-Gobain company of Paris, France, the global leader in glass and building products.