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Minnesota State University uses SageGlass dynamic glass to deliver daylight

Mar. 31, 2014

Minnesota State University (MNSU) in Mankato is using SageGlass® dynamic glass from SAGE to keep students, staff and visitors comfortable and protected from the sun’s blinding rays as they traverse a new indoor walkway on campus.

The project, informally called the “Connection,” is an indoor pedestrian route between the University’s Memorial Library, the Centennial Student Union building and the rest of central campus. Approximately 5,000 people visit the library and 9,500 people visit the student union building daily. The Connection is part of a campus master plan to create a more pedestrian-friendly campus. A majority of MNSU’s central campus is currently using indoor walkway systems to help visitors avoid the harsh Minnesota weather.

The idea for the Connection was first conceived when a disabled student expressed concerns about getting to the library during winter months. The walkway provides a handicap accessible route to the library and student union building. While it was built mostly underground, the west side of the Connection faces a large, open amphitheater sloped like a bowl that is used for outdoor performances.

The western exposure of the windows would create a significant glare problem for the people inside if left untreated. “It would have been blinding during afternoon hours if we had used conventional windows,” said Paul Corcoran, director of planning and construction at MNSU. “The electrochromic glazing provides subdued natural daylight at a comfortable level.”

The Connection was designed by international architectural/engineering firm, LEO A DALY. According to the Director of Design, Bill Baxley, “We always saw the Connection as having multiple narratives. We loved SageGlass’ transformative quality to support the many ways the campus wanted to use this project. It allows light, while at the same time it can be a backdrop for a performance.”

The $1.2 million project includes a nine-panel curtain wall of SageGlass to control the sun without resorting to shades, blinds or other view blocking mechanisms. SageGlass is electronically tintable dynamic glass that maximizes daylight and outdoor views while controlling glare and heat gain. SageGlass operates automatically in the walkway in response to light sensors, changing tint as the sun intensifies and wanes throughout the day. Tinting can be controlled manually as well.

Heat gain was another important design challenge for the project since it was largely a walkway area getting its air conditioning and heating comfort from the adjoining two buildings, said Corcoran. “We needed to reduce the heat load during the summer since we didn’t have a lot of excess HVAC capacity in either the library or the student union to condition the air. SageGlass’ ability to control the heat gain throughout the day is saving money on energy and HVAC costs,” he said.

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.

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