SageGlass Classic
Project Size
151,591 ft² / 14,083 m²
2016 - 2022 (multiple projects)

The Challenge

SCHEELS began as a small hardware and general merchandise store in 1902. Today, the company’s 27 stores in 12 states (with more on the way) offer the world’s largest selection of sporting goods, sportswear and footwear. SCHEELS’ signature building style prominently features elements designed to invite daylight and provide views, including roof skylights, glazed entrances and punched openings. As the design developed over time, SCHEELS and its longtime architectural firm R.L. Engebretson continued to explore more ways of connecting shoppers with the outdoors. At the new Johnstown SCHEELS location — the company’s first in Colorado — the team pursued natural light even further, designing a grand atrium and clerestories.  

However, they knew from experience at other stores that at certain times of the day and year, some shops were too bright in specific areas. Colorado has many clear-sky days with bright sunlight, so the team sought to provide the Johnstown superstore — which was to include a 65-foot indoor Ferris wheel, a 16,000-gallon aquarium, an archery lane, golf simulator, games and a restaurant — with ample natural light, while protecting employees and customers from uncomfortable glare and heat.

SageGlass gives the store a nice, clean look. The glass looks like a regular curtain wall or skylight until it tints.
Rich Wiemken, Principal, R.L. Engebretso


The Solution

The project team looked beyond traditional sun-control strategies. Motorized shades didn’t have the functionality they wanted, and it was cumbersome and costly to add a mechanical element that wasn’t needed at all times. They also looked at different types of glass and tint options, but permanently tinted glass would be a disadvantage at night, when the designers wanted the atrium to be a bright, distinctive beacon.

After a visit to the Mall of America to see the SageGlass skylight installed there, the team decided that dynamic glass would be the best solution for the Johnstown SCHEELS superstore. SageGlass darkens and lightens in response to the sun, providing the optimal amount of natural light throughout the entire day, keeping shoppers and staff consistently comfortable.

SageGlass makes up almost every piece of exterior glass at the Johnstown SCHEELS, which includes a grand atrium, a large skylight, curtain walls and clerestories. SageGlass was also used in the employee break room area that faces east.

It is one of the largest installations of SageGlass in the United States.


The Benefits

At full transparency, SageGlass looks like a regular curtain wall or skylight, giving the store a nice, clean exterior look. SageGlass changes its tint discreetly, without distracting shoppers and staff. 

Even at its darkest tint level, SageGlass preserves a connection to the beautiful Colorado landscape, but without the negative effects of the sun. SageGlass will help SCHEELS dramatically reduce its energy demand and need for HVAC in the store by blocking up to 91 percent of solar heat.


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Energy Savings Case Study: Click to View

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