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Architectural survey finds that architects have love/hate relationship with the sun

Jun. 14, 2012

Architects overwhelmingly agree that people perform better in buildings with abundant natural light. Controlling the natural light, as well as providing it, is an important design concern, according to a new survey conducted by Hanley Wood, a leading media and information company in the construction industry. The survey was sponsored by SAGE, the leading manufacturer of electronically tintable dynamic glass.

More than 99 percent of the nearly 500 architects surveyed believe people perform their jobs or activities better in buildings when exposed to natural light. Additionally, almost 98 percent of architects surveyed felt occupants perform better when they have a view and connection to the outdoors.

When uncontrolled, however, abundant sunlight can adversely affect building occupants as much as it benefits them, with problems such as glare, heat gain and fading. That is a reason why more than 93 percent of architects surveyed also agree that sun control is a significant challenge when designing glass into buildings.

Glass, traditionally a double-edged sword

Traditional approaches to controlling sunlight have frustrated architects who love to design with glass. Controls such as mechanized shades, blinds or exterior louvers may block the sun but also limit exposure to daylight and the view to the outdoors, which are the very reasons why windows are designed into building facades. Consequently, only 39% of architects agree that they are satisfied with options for managing solar control today. Furthermore, 17% of architects pointedly indicate that they are not satisfied with conventional sun control options.

The recent research supports the value proposition of new glazing technologies like dynamic SageGlass®, which electronically tints and clears on demand to tame the sun’s harmful rays without blocking the view to the outdoors.

The survey also found that the use of energy-efficient glass is aligned with a majority of architects’ green design objectives. Approximately two-thirds of architects surveyed said that they typically design buildings with LEED® principles in mind. This viewpoint indicates a growing awareness of sustainable building design practices in the industry over the past 10 years, and bodes well for new glazing technologies that can demonstrate a direct contribution to LEED points and environmental objectives.

“The Hanley Wood study validates the SageGlass value proposition and many of the reasons why SageGlass is gaining momentum in the market,” said Derek Malmquist, vice president of marketing at SAGE. “In addition to energy savings and enhancing sustainability, dynamic glass provides architects and glaziers with a product that uniquely solves the problem of solar control. SageGlass can be controlled to let in exactly the right amount of sunlight to maximize building efficiency without ever having to sacrifice natural light or a connection to the outdoors.”

A common misperception in the industry is that dynamic glazing is too expensive for mainstream projects. The survey suggests that attitudes may be changing on this issue. Nearly 75 percent of architects were positive or neutral about the affordability of new technologies like dynamic glass, which is a significant departure from earlier industry perceptions (with one in five architects agreeing or strongly agreeing that dynamic glass is affordable compared to other traditional solar control options).

One reason for this attitude shift: dynamic glazing, such as SageGlass, costs the same or less than conventional systems when architects consider the total solution cost. Traditional methods of controlling sunlight quickly add up. With traditional sun controls, architects need to budget for shades/blinds (plus installation and maintenance), exterior sunshades (plus transport and installation), larger HVAC systems, increased energy usage, lighting and peak demand electricity charges.

“Electrochromic glass is usually first-cost competitive from a total solution standpoint. With dynamic glass, the architect and glazier need only budget for the glazing, period,” said Malmquist. “In some ways it almost parallels the idea of a smart phone, which now serves as a camera, calendar, email provider, laptop and phone in one. With SageGlass, you do not need additional sun control devices that would have been essential only a few years ago.”

To view additional findings, please visit www.sageglass.com/architects.

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood, LLC, is the premier media and information company serving the housing and commercial design and construction industries. Through its operating platforms, the company produces award-winning magazines and websites, marquee trade shows and events, market intelligence data and custom marketing solutions. The company also is North America’s leading publisher of home plans. www.hanleywood.com.

About SageGlass 
SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, is advanced dynamic glass that can be electronically tinted or cleared to optimize daylight and improve the human experience in buildings. SageGlass manages the sunlight and heat that enter a building, significantly reducing energy consumption while improving people’s comfort and well-being. It can reduce a building’s cooling load by 20% and HVAC requirements up to 30%. It is a smarter, more elegant solution than conventional sun controls such as mechanical window shades, blinds and louvers. With SageGlass you can control sunlight and glare without shades or blinds while maintaining the view and connection to the outdoors. SageGlass is manufactured in Faribault, Minn., in the heart of “the Silicon Valley of the window industry,” and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paris, the world’s largest building materials company.

For more information visit:

Website: www.sageglass.com

Twitter: twitter.com/Sage_Glass

Facebook: Facebook.com/SageGlass

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/sageglass

YouTube: Youtube.com/SAGEElectrochromics

About Saint-Gobain in North America

Saint-Gobain has its North American headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As the world leader in sustainable habitat, Saint-Gobain is committed to inventing solutions to help professionals and communities around the world build and renovate comfortable, healthy, economical and energy-efficient buildings. The company has more than 250 locations in North America and approximately 15,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $6.2 billion in 2014.

Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. For more information about Saint-Gobain in North America, visit www.saint-gobain-northamerica.com and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.       

About Saint-Gobain

In 2015, Saint-Gobain is celebrating its 350th anniversary, 350 reasons to believe in the future. Backed by its experience and its capacity to continuously innovate, Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction market, designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance and building materials providing innovative solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection. With 2014 sales of $54.6 billion, Saint-Gobain operates in 64 countries and has over 180,000 employees. For more information about Saint-Gobain, visit https://www.saint-gobain.com/en and the twitter account @saintgobain