A Minnesota-based invention company called Sage Electrochromics, Inc has received a financial loan of $103 million from the Department of Energy for its breakthrough glass innovation, a window that can be switched on or off to reject up to 98% of the sun’s heat and light on a push of a button.The money will be used to build up a 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility to mass produce the energy-saving glass. This electronically tintable glass has the main purpose to cut utility bills and reduce carbon emissions. It can switch from clear to darkly tinted and back at the simple push of a button. While rejecting almost the entire heat of a summer afternoon in its tinted state and capturing the maximum sunlit warmth on sunny winter days, the energy usage of a building will decrease by 28%.
The SageGlass is produced almost the same way as a regular energy-efficient low-e glass is made: regular glass is coated with layers of metal oxides using a vacuum deposition process called “sputtering.” In order to determine how the glass absorbs or reflects light and heat from the sun, a low-voltage current is pushed though the coatings.
This breakthrough helps a lot in the design of new passive houses that are able to sustain themselves with solar energy, as total usage will become lower and lower.