A Wise Sage

SagelunchIn a recent luncheon held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, co-located with the Greenbuild show, Sage Electrochromics invited architects to personally view its electrochromic skylight featured in the building’s rooftop garden. The company says the skylight served as a solution to the building’s heating and glare problems, which prevented the room from being rented out for events.

“We had to create an environment … in the summer the heat was terrific,” said John Bower, founder of BLT Architects, which served as architect and interior designer for the project. “Our initial approach was to end up with skylights and cover them with a retractable blind system.”

Donna Lisle, senior associate, AIA, LEED AP, added, “The two big issues were thermal and acoustical.” After tossing around a variety of ideas, she says glazing subcontractor APG International recommended the electrochromic glazing by Sage.

Bower said they ultimately selected Sage’s electrochromics to allow a consistent exterior view. “We’re very satisfied, our clients are very satisfied and I think it’s worked out well,” he said.

Andrew Hulse, vice president of sales at Sage, told attendees about the need for solutions such as electrochromic glazing. He cited an example of one time when he was in the TSA security line at the airport and TSA agents had covered a windowed wall with newspaper to block out the sun and heat. “If we don’t control this [glare and heat reduction] they’re [consumers] going to control it for us,” he said.

It appears the skylight has done just that. According to Dave Thiele, vice president of operations at the Kimmel Center, the rooftop garden receives about 1,000 to 2,000 inquiries per year for rental. Prior to the installation of the glazing they had only been able to meet about eight of those per year. Following the installation, since July 1, they have already held 42 events he said. In addition, he said that the wow factor of the glazing has helped him close sales for potential space renters who are on the fence about the location.

The company also unveiled its new electrochromic glass that is completely solar-powered, self-contained and wirelessly controlled with an iPad at the Greenbuild show.

“Architects have asked us for a wire-free electrochromic solution for their hard-to-wire designs and renovations,” said Hulse. “This will enable them to incorporate new applications for dynamic glass in their designs which will further expand the market for dynamic glass.”