The new Mercy Orthopedic Hospital in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is using electronically tintable SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, to tame the sun for comfort and efficiency and to make an architectural statement about the organization’s healthcare mission.
Mercy Orthopedic is part of Mercy, the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S., with more than 45 hospitals and 700 clinic and outpatient facilities. The former ambulatory surgical center was expanded into a full 24-bed orthopedic hospital for aging baby boomers as part of Mercy’s $192 million community master plan to put healthcare access closer to where patients live.
With so many facilities, Mercy established a number of branded architectural features for all new construction, including the Lantern and the Cross, a unique glass curtain wall entrance to Mercy buildings in which windows and mullions form a cross symbol.
Views from the building were critical to the architectural design of the new expansion. The hospital faces west to address the intersection and vehicular circulation. And the exterior landscape features lush, gorgeous garden to provide patients with serene views of the outdoors.
“Mercy created a set of architectural principles that reflected their brand and commitment to the community so that their facilities would be recognizable,” said Michelle Teague, an architect at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. “They wanted the architecture to enhance the experience of patients while preserving a connection to the outdoors. But the west-facing orientation of the entrance posed significant sun control problems like glare and heat gain inside the reception area.”
Using mechanized shades would have been impractical because the entrance was a multi-story glass curtain wall. It would have also blocked the symbolic view of the cross as well as the indoor-outdoor connection.
Mercy ultimately chose SageGlass dynamic glass because it solves the glare challenge while preserving the outdoor views. SageGlass is electronically tintable glass for windows, skylights and curtain walls. It tints automatically or on demand to control sunlight, without blinds or shades, maintaining a connection to the outdoors and reducing energy consumption. “SageGlass helps create a visually stunning effect from the inside as the tinting windows frame the Lantern and Cross. It also provides an unbroken connection to beautiful outdoor spaces for the benefit of patients and employees. It was a win-win for the interior spatial experience,” Teague said.
Dynamic glazing also addressed Mercy’s daylighting, energy efficiency and green building objectives. Teague said Mercy aggressively pursues energy savings in their lighting specifications and HVAC systems in new building projects. SageGlass maximizes the amount of natural daylight entering the building throughout the day while blocking glare. It also helps reduce cooling loads on hot, sunny days.
SageGlass was also used on the south side of the building to control sun glare and heat at the surgical department entrance. The south façade is a single story glass wall featuring the signature Lantern and Cross architecture.
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.
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