What is SageGlass?
SageGlass manufactures dynamic glass that controls the amount of light and heat entering a building throughout the day. The IGU and control system are adapted to customer requirements and custom-made. The heart of the dynamic glass is an electrochromic coating. It consists of a 5-layer inorganic metal oxide coating that either tints or clears the glass on demand. We can control the IGUs and therefore influence the solar heat gain coefficient and visible light transmission entering a building either automatically with a building automation system or manually with a touch panel or a mobile application.
The product is based on more than 30 years of R&D and has already been installed in more than 1,000 buildings worldwide. Since the very beginning, our electrochromic glass has been continuously optimized in order to meet the highest standards for occupant comfort and energy savings.
What are the main benefits of SageGlass smart glass?
There are numerous benefits: Our electrochromic glass saves energy by providing passive solar gains during heating seasons, minimizes cooling loads during cooling seasons, provides maximum daylight harvesting potential and replaces the use of electric lights with natural light in all seasons. The average energy consumption can be reduced by 20 percent, peak energy consumption by as much as 25 percent on average.
Additionally, SageGlass can increase the comfort and well-being of the occupants thanks to a continuous connection to the outdoors and the optimal use of daylight. Because SageGlass can achieve transmissions of 1 %T or less, it can control glare without using blinds or shades, thus preserving the view and connection with nature in contrast to mechanical alternatives, which block the view. Recent research, particularly in “biophilic design” has underlined the positive effect of a connection to nature in supporting our health and well-being, which can be achieved through views to the outdoors.
Furthermore, dynamic glass works reliably even under harsh weather conditions such as wind, hail or snow. Since there is no mechanical sun protection necessary, electrochromic glass provides a large usable area thanks to the slim building envelope. The absence of external shading devices also leads to low maintenance costs and a long life expectancy, because there are no mechanical or textile components on the building envelope that require regular maintenance or repair. As the tint of SageGlass happens absolutely silently, the occupants are not disturbed in their work.
What do these benefits mean for architects and specifiers?
SageGlass helps to increase the design freedom. The ability to adapt to the sun’s activity allows the architect to control the heat and light entering a building. As a result, the use of electrochromic glass such as SageGlass enables an architect to design with more glass, thus providing the needed access to daylight and views without any compromise on energy savings or comfort. By the way:Electrochromic coatings can be easily integrated into a single, double or triple glazing unit just like traditional coatings. By adding colors or additional coatings to the exterior glass pane different exterior aesthetics can be achieved.
How can you achieve a neutral colour rendering in the room with SageGlass?
This is a very good and popular question. Through continuous improvement, the SageGlass product portfolio has become more in tune with the natural colour rendering in the room. For example, SageGlass Neutral Clear offers a colour rendering index of 97 percent in the clear state. With our newest product SageGlass Harmony, which offers gradual in-pane tinting, building owners can achieve a colour rendering index of over 90 percent.
What does a façade with SageGlass cost?
The cost depends on the size and the complexity of a project. In most cases, the investment is between that of a conventional façade — consisting of IGUs and external shading solutions — and that of a double skin or closed cavity façade. However, the maintenance costs are significantly lower with SageGlass. If you consider all the advantages you have with SageGlass over time (i.e. lower energy costs, larger room space and the increased occupant comfort), investing in a dynamic glass façade pays off within ten to 15 years.
What is the life expectancy of SageGlass?
Our products have been tested for quality and durability by the international organisation ASTM and have successfully passed 100,000 switching cycles. Thanks to its inorganic components, the electrochromic layer does not diminish over time. Accordingly, the life span of a SageGlass IGU is the same as that of a standard IGU, which is around 30 years.
What general developments in the building envelope do you currently see on the market?
The building envelope itself is becoming a connected object. This is creating tremendous opportunities for the building industry. Commercial real estate owners will be able to better use the space available, and charge higher tenant fees for intelligent buildings for a variety of reasons including lower operational costs as well as the support for improved safety, comfort, security, and productivity for the occupants.
We want to foster the adoption of these smart solutions together with all stakeholders in the market, real estate developers, investors, building owners, architects, consultants, contractors, and installers. We all aim to satisfy the requirements of the end customer, the building occupant, who is looking for an innovative solution that will constantly improve their well-being and comfort. Saint-Gobain SageGlass is offering solutions that are part of that development.
This interview was originally published in IGS Magazines Spring 2021 Issue: Read the full Magazine here for more thought-leadership from those spearheading the industry
Alain Garnier, Country Manager UK, Ireland & Middle East at SageGlass
Since mid-2015, Alain Garnier has been in charge of developing the SageGlass business for Saint-Gobain in the UK and Ireland. His goal is to support continued and sustainable growth for SageGlass dynamic glazing and to address this new market from a position of strength across the regions.
Alain joined the Saint-Gobain group in 2002 to head the newly created Photovoltaics business unit within the Flat Glass division in Europe and later in the US. In 2012, he took up the challenge of developing the market for SageGlass in Europe, and successfully completed the first large scale projects.
Alain graduated in Engineering from the Ecole Centrale (France) and studied at the Technical University of Berlin (Germany). He received his MSc in Industrial Robotics from Cranfield University (UK), and later graduated from the ESSEC business school executive management program.
Alain is passionate about glass and its use in the building envelope. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, seminars and trade shows.