< Back

Improving the Travel Experience with Electrochromic Glass

By Jordan Doria

Sep. 28, 2018

Delivering a first-rate travel experience is critical to the bottom line of airports and airlines, which can be seen by the fact that airport renovations in North America alone are projected to reach more than $100 billion over the next few years. Additionally, as both airport operators and travelers know, more time is often spent in the airport waiting to board a flight than in the air flying to a destination, which leads to the need to create as comfortable an indoor environment as possible. Given the frequently tense and hectic environment in an airport, electrochromic glass can significantly improve the occupant experience for both travelers and airport staff by enhancing thermal comfort and reducing glare.

SageGlass has already addressed these issues at airports around the world – including the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Ronald Reagan National Airport and Tokyo International Airport – in order to provide a more comfortable travel experience.

Benefits for Travelers

Most airports today are designed with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, as people have grown accustomed to and enjoy sweeping views of the runway and surroundings from their gate. But, throughout the daylight hours, sun glare can often force travelers away from windows, leaving what is already sparse seating unoccupied. Additionally, with smartphones, tablets and laptops, sun glare compromises the ability for travelers to use their devices as they’d like.

Electrochromic glass, however, delivers the experience that travelers desire by maintaining an important connection to the outdoors, while also managing glare and excessive heat. Electrochromic glass can block up to 91 percent of solar heat, which far exceeds almost any conventional glass product, and can block up to 99 percent of glare-producing light. The result is a dramatic improvement in the ability to deliver thermal and visual comfort to travelers while they wait for their flights.

Benefits for Airport Workers

While occupant comfort is important in any work environment, it’s especially critical for the TSA agents responsible for keeping travelers safe. The use of electrochromic glass to promote visual and thermal comfort can help airport staff perform at their highest level at security checkpoints where being focused and avoiding distraction caused by lack of comfort are mission critical. This claim was put to the test in the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport where SageGlass was installed at one security checkpoint. Following the installation, TSA agents reported an overwhelmingly positive experience working around electrochromic glass rather than conventional glass. As a result of this feedback, SageGlass was installed at all additional security checkpoints throughout the airport.

Download Free Report: “When Visual Comfort is Mission Critical”

Benefits for Airport Businesses

Thermal comfort also benefits the restaurants and businesses inside the airport. In a recent study at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, electrochromic glass was used to reduce solar heat gain and improve comfort at an airport bar. The improvement in thermal comfort led to increased traffic and as a result, the bar’s alcohol sales increased by a staggering 80 percent. Thermal comfort is especially important since airport restaurants have to compete with many nearby locations for quality food and beverage, and on average, an airport restaurant spends 18 percent of its gross sales on rent, compared to the industry standard of 6 to 10 percent. To remain financially solvent, airport restaurants need to drive traffic and encourage diners to linger by creating a more comfortable environment.

Overall Energy Savings

Due to size, hours of operation and their glass-centric design, airports tend to use large amounts of energy. Electrochromic glass can significantly reduce this energy consumption, thereby reducing operational costs by managing the temperature inside the facility. In fact, SageGlass reduces overall energy loads by an average of 20 percent and peak energy demand by up to 26 percent.

For airports, airlines, travelers and airport staff, the thermal and visual comfort provided by electrochromic glass is critical for maintaining a healthy bottom line, and more importantly, keeping travelers and airport staff happy, comfortable and safe.

Learn more about SageGlass airport installations.