If the White House gets its way, dynamic glass will play a major role in federal buildings of the future.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (GBC), buildings consume 70% of the electricity load in the country and half of that energy goes right out the window. As cities grow, the GBC predicts that 15 million new buildings will need to be constructed to meet demand, and glass will cover 80% of the building envelope.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House have proposed a new Federal Building Performance Standard and clean energy rules that will save millions of dollars annually and decrease long-term carbon emissions.
The Federal Building Performance Standard proposal seeks to cut energy use and electrify equipment and appliances by 30% of the building space owned by the federal government by 2030 using energy-efficiency and building-system technologies, such as dynamic glass.
“Climate change is a major societal issue, and buildings consume 40% of all energy and 70% of all electricity,” says Deepak Shivaprisad, vice president of product marketing at View Glass. “Buildings need to be built and managed a lot more efficiently if the U.S. and the world are to solve the climate crisis and addressing the efficiency of windows is a significant part of achieving that.”
Dynamic glass has proven to help lower heating-, cooling- and lighting-related energy costs due to its ability to actively or passively control how much heat and sunlight a building receives. Dynamic glass recently received a moment in the sun thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides a credit for up to 30% of the costs associated with dynamic glass. The tax credit shows that the federal government considers dynamic glass to be a vital contributor to reaching carbon emissions goals.
“The [tax credit] is a true game changer for the industry,” Michael Lane, vice president of sales for SageGlass, said in a USGlass magazine article about dynamic glass’ inclusion in the Inflation Reduction Act. “Dynamic glass has proven itself for years in larger and larger applications, but the cost has remained an obstacle to large-scale adoption. This tax credit can go a long way towards making the technology more accessible.”
Adopting dynamic glass in buildings would reduce peak electricity demand, states DOE windows technology manager Marc LaFrance. LaFrance writes in a DOE report, “Pathway to Zero Energy Windows: Advancing Technologies and Market Adoption,” that windows can reduce U.S. annual energy use by 1.7% and CO2 emissions by 1.9% by 2050.
LaFrance adds that teaching the federal government about the importance of dynamic glass has been one of the glass industry’s biggest challenges. However, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and Wednesday’s Federal Building Performance Standard proposal underscores the federal government’s understanding that glass is a solution in the fight against climate change, not a contributor.