Delivering a first-rate travel experience is critical to the bottom lines of airports and airlines, but facilities face challenges in consistently providing the thermal comfort and natural lighting that travelers and employees desire1.
With most terminals and other high-traffic areas at airports made up of glass, SageGlass, a global leader in smart windows, offers a solution that dozens of airports are adopting. Smart windows tint or clear using intelligent software, controlling heat and light to deliver an enhanced occupant experience.
To demonstrate the difference SageGlass smart windows make in their environment, SageGlass conducted a study at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport with 160 survey respondents consisting of travelers, airport employees and Transportation Security Administration personnel (TSA). The data was collected over two weeks with comparable weather conditions: one week with the glass turned off and one week with the glass turned on.
Survey Results Showed Major Benefits to using SageGlass
- Respondents were nearly three times more likely to be satisfied with their thermal comfort when the glass was on.
- Respondents were nearly three times more likely to be satisfied with the amount of daylight coming through when the glass was on.
- Respondents were nearly two and a half times more likely to be satisfied with glare control when the glass was on.
- When SageGlass was turned off, people reported a more negative experience, including sweating and using fans due to the uncomfortably warm temperatures, unable to see travel documents due to glare on their screens and an inability to interact with others due to squinting or using sunglasses.
- When the SageGlass was turned on, airport and TSA employees were able to do their jobs without interruptions due to the appropriate temperature and window tinting.
“It’s a top priority for us to provide a comfortable space for travelers and workers at the airport,” said Bryant Walker, Assistant City Manager and Aviation Administrator at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport. “Workers and travelers alike need to be able to interact without distractions from the heat, glare or brightness coming from the windows surrounding them.”
“Site constraints at the airport drove the building orientation with the major terminal facades facing east-west. We knew from the onset that controlling the early morning and late afternoon sun would be a challenge,” said Vice President Erik Strain at Corgan, the architectural design firm on the project. “By incorporating SageGlass into the design, we were able to improve thermal and glare control while giving the owner flexibility to control the tinting to meet their unique daily needs.”
Why it Matters
Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, like many airports, has most of its seating near windows. These environments are significantly more affected by outdoor temperatures, glare and daylight when smart windows are not used. As evidenced by the survey findings, travelers experience great discomfort at airports when SageGlass smart windows are not in operation.
This impacts an airport’s bottom line, as uncomfortable passengers are unhappy passengers. Just a one percent increase in customer satisfaction can lead to one-and-a-half percent increase in non-aeronautical revenue2.
“With the glass turned off, Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport functioned like airports with traditional glass, resulting in discomfort based on temperature, glare and brightness from the outdoors.,” said Jordan Doria, SageGlass Global Marketing Director. “We are excited that this survey proves what a difference SageGlass smart windows make in creating comfortable indoor environments.”
In addition to increased satisfaction with lighting levels and thermal comfort, SageGlass smart windows also resulted in energy savings of 26.8% at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport when comparing July 2021 to July 2022.
“SageGlass smart windows help address a variety of challenges for airports,” Doria said. “We’re excited to continue to partner with some of the most forward-looking organizations in the industry as they seek to not only care for their passengers and employees but also make smart business decisions that focus on sustainability and energy savings.”
SageGlass has been selected by some of the largest and busiest airports in the United States, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Nashville International Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The adoption of smart windows is expected to grow quickly with the Inflation Reduction Act adding dynamic glass to the Investment Tax Credit, covering up to 30% of the costs associated with dynamic glass for eligible projects and moving it towards cost parity with traditional glazing and shading solutions.
SageGlass is the global leader in electrochromic glass and is transforming the human experience in the built environment. With this smart technology, dynamic glass tints and clears automatically to optimize daylight and regulate temperature — all while maintaining unobstructed views of the outdoors.
With SageGlass, building occupants comfortably experience the biophilic benefits of the outdoors, including stress reduction, enhanced creativity, and greater wellbeing. Architects choose SageGlass to solve solar control challenges elegantly without sacrificing aesthetics. And SageGlass can help building owners use less energy and achieve sustainability and wellness certifications. The SageGlass Symphony® control system can be integrated into smart, connected building systems.
SageGlass holds more than 1,300 patents and counting. And as a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, SageGlass is backed by more than 350 years of building science expertise that only the world leader in sustainable environments can provide.
Worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction, Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures, and distributes materials and services for the construction and industrial markets. Its integrated solutions for the renovation of public and private buildings, light construction, and the decarbonization of construction and industry are developed through a continuous innovation process and provide sustainability and performance. The group's commitment is guided by its purpose, "MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER HOME."
€44.2 billion in sales in 2021
More than 166,000 employees, located in 70 countries
Committed to achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050
About Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport
Established in 1929, the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport (BRO) is a commercial service airport in South Texas serving as the gateway to Historical Brownsville, TX, the beautiful beaches of South Padre Island, TX, the binational manufacturing industry in Northern Mexico and SpaceX’s “Starbase” launch facility located just outside Brownsville’s city limits.
In January 2021, BRO inaugurated a 91,000 sq. ft., four-gate passenger terminal, culminating a fiyr-year process of replacing its 50-year-old, 37,000 sq. ft. building with the most modern and efficient terminal in the region, offering both travelers and employees a comfortable and world class facility. Additional infrastructure improvements are in the works as planning is underway for an extension of the primary runway, and the reconstruction of the secondary runway.
In 2019 BRO saw a record growth of 17.5% in passengers served. Today, as the travel industry continues to recover, load factors out of BRO are consistently in the high 90%. Daily flights to and from Dallas, TX with American Airlines; and to and from Houston, TX with United Airlines, connect BRO to over 600 destinations across the globe through these hubs.
Fast Horse for SageGlass