Wasco Skylights recently announced that they have partnered with SageGlass to provide skylights with smart glass technology. The electrochromic glass is capable of dimming in bright light to shade interior areas from glare and heat gain. SageGlass was featured in a recent GBE post.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has said that electrochromic glass could save the US 1/8th of its building energy use, and about 5% of its total energy budget. Jeff Frank, CEO of Wasco Skylights, would like to see the technology adopted by all window and skylight manufacturers, “because it’s the type of innovation that will bring us closer to a sustainable energy future. As manufacturers, that goal should be at the top of our list.”
The technology allows glazing to both act as an active barrier to solar heat gain and glare when necessary, and to let heat and light in when desired. Through a small electric charge, thin film ceramic layers are darkened to the required level, blocking up to 91% of the solar heat from reaching the interior. When heat or light are desired, the glass returns to its clear state, letting in the solar heat.
The “magic” of the system is it’s ability to change tinting in direct response to outside light levels. The controls are programmed to maintain certain light levels inside at certain times, and the glass responds in real time to maintain that level. For example, if a cloud passes in front of the sun, the glass will lighten to allow more light in. Once the cloud has passed, the glass darkens again to prevent glare. With an unlimited amount of zones available, certain areas of a room or building can be programmed independently of the rest.
The system uses about the same amount of electricity as a 60 watt light bulb for a 1,500 square foot section of glass. The controls system integrates with existing building automation systems, allowing the glazing to be an integral part of energy management. Its cost is comparable to regular glazing when reductions in heating and cooling capacity are taken into account.
For more about SageGlass, see Smart Windows Save Energy.
Photos courtesy of Wasco Skylights.