With the demands of sustainability today placing tight restrictions on performance metrics such as how airtight a building is, one of the sacrifices that often has to be made is user control. Windows are often no longer openable; shades and blinds often replaced with non-openable louvers. In recent years new technology such as smart glass (sometimes called "switchable glass) has promised a modicum of compromise, allowing windows to be tinted on demand. But smart glass is limited - it's either on or off, clear or tinted.
Among the new capabilities offered are the opportunity to not only tint sections of a single pane of glass independently, but even for architects to specify a wide variety of geometric shapes which can function independently from the rest of the glass pane - from simple triangles and rectangles to chevrons and diamonds.
In addition to the internal, tinting possibilities of the smart glass, window panes can be supplied in a variety of colors and shapes, as demonstrated by the recently-completed Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, designed by HOK with triangular smart glass windows throughout. Finally, in a bid to return user control to buildings, SageGlass unveiled a mobile app with which users can change the tint level of the glass from wherever they are.
"Achieving accurate and uniform tint levels across non-standard shapes can be a significant engineering challenge for traditional solar control mechanisms such as shades, and impossible with other dynamic glass products," explained SageGlass.
"These options allow greater design freedom for architects and building owners in the future," added Derek Malmquist, VP of Marketing at SageGlass. "Having broader shape and tinting options eliminates the all-or-nothing tinting trade-offs that architects may have to weigh when evaluating dynamic glazing for their designs."