When Dow Corning first sought a tintable, energy-efficient type of glass for its new facility in Belgium, it knew just where to look.
SageGlass® tintable glazings have been thoroughly vetted in every kind of climate, including extreme cold conditions, so they were just what Dow Corning officials had in mind with the recent construction of their new Solar Energy Exploration and Development (SEED) Centre in Seneffe, Belgium. The research and development facility required an aesthetically-pleasing, transparent glazing solution to control solar light, heat gain and glare.
For Dow Corning, SageGlass was the answer.
“SageGlass is an electrochromic glazing,” says Derek Malmquist, vice president of marketing for Sage Electrochromics. “It has the ability to reversibly change its solar heat gain coefficient and visible light transmission at the touch of a button or command from a building energy system, thus providing dynamic control over the amount of heat and light which is admitted to the building. Having a ‘heat and light valve’ on your building envelope provides the ability to minimize cooling and heating loads and offset electrical lighting as needed without losing your view and connection to the outside.”
The glazing’s ability to reach two percent or less visible light transmission provides enough glare control to mostly eliminate the need for blinds or shades, according to a Sage release. The elimination of conventional mechanical shading systems, such as exterior louvers or automated blinds, not only preserves an unobstructed view from within the building, but can also provide the architect design flexibility without compromising energy performance.
“SageGlass is designed to withstand varying temperatures and precipitation while increasing energy savings,” Malmquist says.
Sage worked closely with Earch Engineering and Design to ensure that Dow Corning’s stated energy efficiency and design goals for the SEED Centre were achieved. The SEED Centre was designed to be a showcase for green buildings, making energy-efficiency and comfort for its occupants imperative.
The electrochromic glass was installed into the SEED Centre as structural glazing using Dow Corning silicones, according to SageGlass officials. The windows are managed by control system in two automatic switching zones. Depending on the solar exposure of the façade that is monitored by light sensors, the glass darkens or clears to best take advantage of daylight and prevent solar heat gain.
A presence detector and light level sensors control artificial lights, automatically switching them on and off to maximize energy efficiency. The glazing enables the SEED Centre to make better use of its meeting room space by eliminating the need for internal shading solutions.
“SageGlass allowed us to maintain the concept of transparency and lightness for the conviviality zone despite a very high sun exposure in the meeting room,” says building architect Patrick de Grave. “At the same time, this innovative technology will motivate the researchers working in the building to reconsider existing standard solutions.”
SageGlass is manufactured by large area sputtering – the same coating technology that is used to make low-E and solar control glass. It can then fabricated into an insulating glass unit.