Studies have shown that natural light in hospital operating rooms helps medical staff maintain alertness, while relieving stress and enhancing their mood. These key reasons are why Children’s Hospital Colorado installed dynamic glass from SAGE in the cardiac operating rooms of its newly built East Tower project.
The Aurora, Colo.-based hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals nationwide. As part of the new 10-story, $230 million East Tower facility that opened in October, Children’s Hospital Colorado installed SageGlass® to enhance the working environment and energy efficiency in a unit that performs more than 800 heart catheter procedures and more than 500 heart surgeries annually.
SageGlass is electronically tintable dynamic glass that maximizes daylight and outdoor views in buildings while controlling glare and heat gain. The glass can darken or clear on demand or automatically to save energy and help keep building occupants continuously comfortable throughout the day.
“We needed to address several critical conditions with the windows, such as higher humidity in the ORs, natural light controls for the procedures performed, higher energy performance to meet our LEED goals and strict infection control requirements for the spaces,” said Sharron Van Der Meulen, interior designer and principal at ZGF Architects, which designed the East Tower project.
Meulen and team evaluated a variety of sun control solutions, including shades and integral blinds. But the high maintenance costs, infection control issues and difficult operation of these solutions by physicians and staff were factors that ruled out these options. “The functionality and performance values of electrochromic glazing offered the most potential relative to these specific conditions,” she said.
The operating rooms are reserved for cardiac patients and are not used for other medical procedures. The state-of-the-art rooms are designed to care for small newborns (often premature), adults with congenital heart disease and everyone in between.
Meulen’s team engaged hospital staff in exploring how light, shape, sound and color could produce a more comfortable working environment. SageGlass contributes by maximizing natural light and preserving a view to the outdoors. Other healthcare facilities have found that sunlight can increase operating room staff alertness, decrease fatigue, boost spirits and give an appreciation for the time of the day.
SageGlass is also a solid-state glazing technology, making it much easier to keep clean and sterile for effective infection control compared to blinds and shades.
SageGlass achieves these benefits while reducing the solar heat gain and improving energy efficiency. The East Tower project is LEED® registered and is currently seeking LEED Gold certification.
Children’s Hospital Colorado is the latest in a growing number of hospitals and healthcare organizations incorporating dynamic glass to help improve the healing efficacies and energy efficiency of their facilities. For example, the VA Medical Center in Memphis installed SageGlass in a new post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) clinic to provide a more relaxing, healing environment for returning veterans.
About ZGF Architects LLP
ZGF (www.zgf.com) is nationally recognized for architecture, planning and interior design and urban design, with offices in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. The firm has received more than 500 design awards, including the Architecture Firm Award, the highest accolade given to a firm by the American Institute of Architects.
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.
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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.
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