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SAGE's Smart Green Glass is Showcased at California College

SAGE Electrochromics Inc.'s smart glass, has been chosen as the centepriece of a $280 million sustainability initiative at Chabot College and is expected to help the campus's new student center reduce energy consumption by 42 percent.

The company's energy-saving dynamic SageGlass electronically tints or clears to manage sunlight and heat gain, which in turn affects how much energy a building uses in cooling, heating and lighting.

The process can be controlled with the touch of a button. Or, as in the case at Chabot, can be part of an integrated system that adjusts automatically.

In the new two-story Community and Student Services Center at Chabot, the SageGlass works in concert with other efficiency technology -- namely radiant heating and cooling in the concrete slab of the building's atrium, and air scoops in the roof and ceiling providing natural ventilation -- so that the tinting and clearing of the glass are are keyed to the air flow through the scoops and the activities of the radiant heating and cooling system.

The integrated system eliminates the need for a traditional, forced-air HVAC system, which can be an energy hog. It also maximizes natural lighting and achieves energy efficiency without impairing the comfort of the people inside the building or their views of the outdoors.SageGlass clear

The company describes how its technology works here. To get an idea of what people in the building see, an example of tinting is shown at the top of the page and clear glass is shown on the right. An exterior view is below.

Energy loss through windows is generally estimated to be responsible for 30 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in U.S. buildings.

Citing research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SAGE said its windows can reduce building heating and air conditioning equipment requirements as much as 25 percent, cut cooling loads by up to 20 percent, lower peak power demand by as much as 26 percent, and curb lighting costs by up to 60 percent.

Founded in 1989, SAGE Electrochromics' SageGlass can be found in hundreds of commercial and institutional buildings as well as high-end residential applications around the world.

In March, the Department of Energy offered a conditional commitment for a $72 million loan guarantee to SAGE. The arrangement is to support the financing of the construction and operation of a 250,000-square-foot, high-volume plant next to SAGE’s existing production facility and headquarters in Faribault, Minn.

The expansion will enable the company to produce its glass faster and in dimensions as large as 5 feet by 10 feet. The company plans to break ground on the project this summer and complete it next year, CEO John Van Dine said at the time.

“The CSSC is an amazing facility that demonstrates how energy efficiency and occupant friendly design principals can complement one another by integrating best-in-class sustainability technologies,” Van Dine said in a statement this week.  “We are proud that SageGlass is a key element of this remarkable, highly sustainable facility.”

Images by Eric Sahlin Photography, courtesy of SAGE Electrochromics Inc.

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